FORMER Newsnight host Emily Maitlis has led current and former staffers on the flagship BBC show in condemning the corporation’s decision to impose major cuts.

It comes after the BBC announced plans to scale back its Newsnight offering, cutting staff and funding by more than half.

Speaking after the news, Maitlis said there is an “irony” that the BBC show has been scaled back after it had to “fight” to take risks with its journalism.

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The high-profile former host’s intervention came after other former Newsnight staff spoke out.

Hannah Barnes wrote: “My thoughts are with my former @BBCNewsnight colleagues today, as they’re told that the programme as we know and love it is to be no more. It’s a terrible day for UK investigative and original journalism.

“Newsnight has been the home of some of the biggest, most important stories of the last five years and more, going places untouched by others in the BBC and the media. The financial climate is tough, but this seems like a small saving for such a huge loss.”

Sharing Barnes’s post, Maitlis wrote: “Hannah’s extraordinary and exceptional journalism is a class example of what will now be lost @BBCNewsnight.

“The irony is how hard and how often @bbcnewsnight had to fight other parts of the BBC to be allowed to make risk taking, policy changing, award winning journalism.”

She further shared another post which read: "It’s extraordinarily bad judgment by the BBC to end Newsnight at a time when it’s needed more than ever"

Mark Urban, a current editor with Newsnight who is restricted by BBC social media rules, was understandably more guarded in his criticism.

Urban wrote: “The honour of presenting @BBCNewsnight falls to me tonight. I have worked on the programme for 32 years, around the world, risking my life many times for its journalism.

“You can well imagine my feelings at cuts to our staff and budget of more than 50%.”

Sharing that post, Channel 4 news anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy, another Newsnight alumni, wrote: “For decades Newsnight has sent teams around the world to do original journalism, held power to account, analysed complex geo-politics and exposed wrong-doing.

“It's a sad day, and not just for those of us who once worked there.”

Lewis Goodall, another former Newsnight journalist who now works with Maitlis on the News Agents podcast, also shared Urban’s post.

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Elsewhere, he wrote: “Without original films, investigations and its own correspondents, [it is] hard to see how it's Newsnight.

“So proud to have worked on this show, with one of the very best teams in news, anywhere. We need more of what Newsnight has always been about, not less.”

The cuts to Newsnight were announced as part of a package which will see the BBC aim to claw back some £500 million.

Elsewhere, cuts will result in the closure of 127 jobs, according to the National Union of Journalists (NUJ).

Paul Siegert, NUJ broadcasting organiser, said: “While we welcome investment in digital, we have grave concerns that the axe is falling disproportionately on investigatory news output.

“Flagship programmes such as Newsnight and Panorama have a long history of setting the news agenda with in-depth investigations and exclusive stories.

“The proposals would, on the face of it, diminish a part of the BBC’s output that has already been negatively impacted by previous rounds of cuts. The extension of BBC Breakfast and News at One would not provide an equivalent in-depth analytical and agenda-setting news product.”

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The BBC said that its savings and reinvestment plans would “boost its digital journalism around the clock; increase its streaming offer on BBC iPlayer and the BBC News app; and bring more in-depth, analytical, and high-impact reporting to its online audiences”.

The BBC said: “News consumption habits are changing, with linear TV audiences declining by 11% over the last five years, and the BBC needs to invest in online news to respond to this. With the flat licence fee settlement and the impact of inflation, this means the BBC needs to make £500m of savings.

“The announcement is the next phase of BBC News’ evolution from broadcast to digital journalism, and forms part of the BBC’s strategy to deliver value to all of its audiences, wherever they live and whichever platforms they use. This draws on research which shows audiences particularly value online breaking news, high-impact investigations, and forensic verification.”