Phillip Schofield explains ITV's decision to stop live coverage of Brussels attacks

Gemma Strong

Phillip Schofield has explained ITV's decision to stop its ongoing coverage of the terror attacks in Brussels in order to air This Morning. The channel has cancelled earlier programmes, including The Jeremy Kyle Show, as the terrible events from the Belgium capital unfolded – but Phillip said bosses had decided to continue with This Morning as "an alternative to the horrific news".

As the show began at 10.30am, Phillip explained that there would be continuous updates throughout the programme. "We had many discussions this morning about how to continue what we do with the rest of the show with very little other information," he said, with co-host Holly Willoughby sat by his side.

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Phillip Schofield said ITV bosses aired This Morning "as an alternative to the horrific news"

"We thought the best thing to do would be to continue with the show as an alternative to the horrific news that we are waking up to this morning. That's what we've chosen to do."

The world has reacted with horror following a series of explosions in Brussels on Tuesday morning. At least 26 people were killed in attacks on Brussels airport and a central metro station, with more than 130 people injured.

Prime Minister David Cameron has said he is "shocked and concerned by the events".

Prime Minister David Cameron has expressed his shock at the attacks in Belgium

"We will do everything we can to help," he tweeted, later adding: "I have just spoken with the Belgian PM and offered our sympathies and condolences. We must stand with Belgium at this very difficult time."

Among those who have also shared their dismay are King Philippe and Queen Mathilde of Belgium. A message from the Belgian Royal Palace said: "Shocked by odious attacks in Brussels national and Brussels metro. Our thoughts go to victims, families and emergency services."

Mayor of London Boris Johnson also spoke out after the tragedy, writing: "Shocked and saddened by events in Brussels – the thoughts of Londoners are with the victims this morning."