TV presenter Lorraine Kelly has been cleared of non-payment of tax, after a tribunal hearing brought by HMRC.
But she was found guilty of 35 years of banal conversation, and given community service.
The case centred on a contract Kelly signed in 2012 to present Lorraine, as well as her former show Daybreak which ended in 2014 when Good Morning Britain was re-launched.
Judge Jennifer Dean ruled the relationship Kelly had with ITV ‘was a contract for services, and not that of employer and employee.’
Summing up, she said she’d taken into consideration a statement from the Chair of The UK Insomniacs Association which detailed how Lorraine had been used to good effect in treating the condition. But she said she couldn’t ignore the prosecution’s evidence that Kelly and Morgan are a ‘toxic combination’ that somehow manage to bore and frustrate the nation in equal measure. During the tribunal, prosecutors described the pair as ‘like vodka Red Bull – one makes you drowsy and the other gets you raging.’
Judge Dean said, ‘We were satisfied that (on TV) Ms Kelly presents a persona of herself.’ She added ‘The shows are a performance, the act being to perform the role of a friendly, chatty and fun personality,
which anybody who has sat next to her in the canteen during the course of this trial, will know is not the case. She just drones on and on about Corrie, and Emmerdale, and Z-list celebrity gossip.’
Judge Dean said community service should be ‘a chore’ and that ‘in the course of her TV career Ms Kelly has been known to get overly excited about tedious things such as community litter picks, cleaning graffiti, and Comic Relief.’ To gasps from the gallery she said, ‘I therefore have no hesitation in sentencing Ms Kelly to a further 5 years of working alongside Piers Morgan.’
A spokesman for HMRC said, ‘We will carefully consider the outcome of the tribunal before deciding whether to appeal.’
The Taxpayers Alliance cancelled Ms Kelly’s subscription with immediate effect.