GB News has been “put on notice” by the broadcasting regulator after breaching impartiality rules in five episodes of programmes hosted by serving Tory MPs.

However it will not receive any sanctions unless there is a repeat of the offence.

Two of the episodes were hosted by former House of Commons leader Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and three by Esther McVey and her husband Philip Davies, who are both MPs.

Ofcom said the episodes, broadcast in May and June last year, all failed to present the news with “due impartiality” as the MPs were acting as news readers and presenters.

The watchdog said politicians “cannot be a newsreader, news interviewer or news reporter unless, exceptionally, there is editorial justification”.

The five programmes “contained a mix of news and current affairs”, it said.

“We found that host politicians acted as newsreaders, news interviewers or news reporters in sequences which clearly constituted news – including reporting breaking news events – without exceptional justification.

"News was, therefore, not presented with due impartiality.

It said the decision had been reached after “careful consideration of the facts in each case - including forensic analysis of the content and detailed representations from GB News”.

It said: “Politicians have an inherently partial role in society and news content presented by them is likely to be viewed by audiences in light of that perceived bias. 

“In our view, the use of politicians to present the news risks undermining the integrity and credibility of regulated broadcast news. 

“We therefore considered it was necessary and proportionate to find a breach of Rules 5.1 and 5.3 [of the Broadcasting Code] in these circumstances.

Ms McVey was made a minister in the cabinet office last November. 

She and Mr Davies are no longer part of the GB News line-up, and last hosted programmes on the channel last year.

The development comes after a series of controversies for GB News, including an epsiode of Dan Wootton Tonight last September airing offensive content when presenter Laurence Fox made highly person comments about a female journalist.

Ofcom said the remarks has been "degrading and demeaning" and "clearly and unambiguously misogynistic".

Because the latest Ofcom controversy features Tory MPs, it is likely to fuel the narrative that Rishi Sunak's party is undisciplined and shambolic going into the election.

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak tells Tories to ‘stick to the plan’ amid reports of plot

Ofcom also said it did not find a breach involving a sixth programme hosted by Mr Rees-Mogg as there had been exceptional circumstances.

"In the case of this live programme, Jacob Rees-Mogg was used as an eye-witness, in situ news reporter during an unforeseen security incident at Buckingham Palace.” 

It warned that further breaches of the Broadcasting Code by the right-leaning channel could result in a “statutory sanction”.

Ofcom has the power to impose fines, suspend or even revoke a broadcast licence.

It said: “These are the first breaches of Rules 5.1 and 5.3 recorded against GB News. 

“Since opening these investigations, there has only been one further programme which has raised issues warranting investigation under these rules. 

“We are clear, however, that GB News is put on notice that any repeated breaches of Rules 5.1 and 5.3 may result in the imposition of a statutory sanction.”

The programmes breaching the code were two episodes of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s State of the Nation, two episodes of Friday Morning with Esther and Phil, and one episode of Saturday Morning with Esther and Phil.