Doubts cast over BBC impartiality on immigration and EU

The BBC's impartiality over certain issues has been called in question. Picture: PA
The BBC's impartiality over certain issues has been called in question. Picture: PA
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BBC staff would find their promotion prospects limited if they moaned in the office about immigration, the EU or doubted climate change, MPs have heard.

Conservative David Davies said he has never heard anyone in a BBC studio or canteen complain about these issues, nor seen them reading a copy of the Daily Express or Daily Mail.

He claimed the corporation would find it harder and harder to justify charging the licence fee if it failed to deal with its left-wing bias, and also labelled the BBC’s reporting “an absolute disgrace” since Leave’s victory at June’s EU referendum.

Mr Davies was joined by fellow MPs expressing concerns about the BBC’s impartiality, with Tory Philip Hollobone insisting the Today programme’s business section is “trying to talk this country into recession”.

Speaking during a Westminster Hall debate, Monmouth MP Mr Davies said he respected the BBC and said there was no argument for privatising it.

He went on: “But I do think that unless the BBC is able to deal with bias that many people have complained about then it’s going to be harder and harder for them to justify the licence fee, which is effectively a tax on everyone whether they are supporters of what the BBC is saying or not.”

Mr Davies said the corporation was “somewhat to the left of centre”, explaining: “I’ve been in many BBC studios and canteens and I’ve yet to see anyone sitting there reading a copy of the Daily Express or the Daily Mail, loudly

complaining about immigration, Brussels or suggesting that claims about climate change are somewhat over-egged.

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“And yet this is a perfectly normal situation in many other workplaces.

“Anyone trying it in a BBC studios would probably find that their promotional ceiling was hit fairly quickly, I’d suggest.

“The reality is, of course, that although the BBC go out of their way to try to be impartial, it’s very difficult most of them share a particular set of opinions for them to do that.”

On climate change, Mr Davies said: “I think it’s regrettable that the BBC has accepted hook, line and sinker the so-called scientific consensus around climate change and not allowed onto the airwaves anyone who wants to question it.”

Mr Hollobone (Kettering) told the same debate: “Each morning on the business section of the Today programme we still get an unrelenting diet of doom and gloom about Britain’s economic prospects after the Brexit vote.

“And if anybody is trying to talk this country into recession, it’s the business section of the Today programme.

“Would you share my concern that they should grow up, accept the result, and accept the result from the British people that we want to leave the European Union and the positive benefits it will bring this country?”

Mr Davies agreed and said it applied to many other programmes and parts of the BBC.

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