News Guest Accuses Fellow Guest of Assault Live on the Air During Heated Debate

A royal historian has been accused of assaulting a former Conservative politician amid a heated debate during a live appearance on GB News. The moment came during Monday night's debate on Jacob Rees-Mogg's State Of The Nation, which saw Dr. Tessa Dunlop put her hand on Jerry Hayes as they discussed the topic of climate change.

During their Monday joint appearance, Dunlop and Hayes were asked to speak about climate protestors. Hayes, who was invited by host Mogg, himself a serving Conservative MP, to make some closing remarks, said climate crisis protesters had to obey the law. However, his comments were interrupted by Dunlop, a historian, writer and broadcaster, who said they were "desperate." The conversation quickly turned into an ill-tempered exchange as Hayes repeatedly exclaimed "no, no, no, who cares," as Dunlop spoke about how climate change activists were resorting to headline-grabbing stunts to get attention for their cause. At one point, Dunlop even put her hand up to Hayes' mouth to silence him.

"Don't touch me. That was an assault, that was an assault," Hayes said. Dunlop immediately apologized, saying, "I'm really sorry, I didn't mean to assault you." Mogg, meanwhile, attempted to ease the situation by telling viewers, "Thank you to both my panelists, getting a little het up today," before moving to commercial break. Hayes and Dunlop could be seen laughing together as the show ended.

Following the moment, Dunlop later issued an apology on Twitter, writing, "It's inexcusable for anyone to put their hand over someone's mouth. Even on the pantomime that is [GB News]. I am very sorry [Jerry Hayes]."

Responding to the apology, Hayes wrote, "Oh never mind. Nobody died!!!'" Earlier in the day, he tweeted, "Can you imagine the outcry if I had put my hand over a woman's mouth to silence her?????" Hayes also shared that he did not plan to press charges, writing in a separate tweet, "I certainly won't be pressing charges. There has been an apology & that'll do for me. But if it had been me behaving like that I would have been suspended, removed as a prosecutor & probably asked to leave chambers." Dunlop has not commented further on the incident. Hayes served as the MP for Harlow in Essex from 1983 to 1997, before he returned to practicing criminal law.