Kate Garraway says Piers has been ‘very supportive’ amid Derek’s health battle

Kate Garraway has paid tribute to Piers Morgan following his departure from Good Morning Britain.

The 55-year-old presenter announced he's quit his role as anchor on the show on Tuesday afternoon.

Kate and Ben Shephard were on presenting duty on Thursday morning and discussed Piers' shock exit at the start of the programme.

At the top of the show, Ben, 45, said: "Not a lot gong on. Obviously there’s been a lot of headlines this week centred around this programme, centred around one of our colleagues, Piers."

Referring to Piers' GMB departure, he said to Kate: "You were friends with him before? And I know he’s been very supportive to you and the family with everything you're going through with Derek."

Kate added: "That's the thing about Piers, he is very passionate, he does fly kites and have debates but it always come from a place of authenticity, he always believes in what he says.

"And he's left, he's decided to quit and has he put it himself, 'fallen on his sword of free speech', but as you rightly say, I've known him a long time before this programme, our friendship will go on, our personal friendship, and he's been very supportive of me personally.

"But year, it’s a different show but the show goes on."

ITV announced on Tuesday evening that Piers has decided to leave his role after over five years as anchor on the breakfast show.

The official statement read: "Following discussions with ITV, Piers Morgan has decided now is the time to leave Good Morning Britain.

"ITV has accepted this decision and has nothing further to add."

He stormed off the GMB set during a huge row on Tuesday morning after weather presenter Alex Beresford criticised his reaction to Meghan' Markles claims she contemplated suicide and was racially abused by the Royal Family.

The Sun reports that Piers was not willing to apologise, and walked – bringing an immediate end to his stint on the morning show.

He told reporters outside his house on Wednesday morning: "I had a good chat with ITV and we agreed to disagree."

"I believe in freedom of speech, I believe in the right to be allowed to have an opinion. If people want to believe Meghan Markle, that's entirely their right.

"I don't believe almost anything that comes out of her mouth and I think the damage she's done to the British monarchy and to the Queen at a time when Prince Philip is lying in hospital is enormous and frankly contemptible.

"If I have to fall on my sword for expressing an honestly held opinion about Meghan Markle and that diatribe of bilge that she came out with in that interview, so be it."

Asked what he would say to his Good Morning Britain colleague, Alex Beresford, with whom he had a heated debate during Tuesday's show, Morgan said: "Good luck to him."

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays on ITV at 6am

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