Scottish independence: NUJ want BBC to leave CBI

MEMBERS of the National Union of Journalists have called on the BBC to resign fully from the CBI over the business body’s backing for a ‘no’ vote in the Scottish independence referendum.

BBC Scotland's headquarters at Pacific Quay, Glasgow. Picture: Ian Rutherford
BBC Scotland's headquarters at Pacific Quay, Glasgow. Picture: Ian Rutherford

The Confederation of British Industry Scotland officially registered with the Electoral Commission as a supporter of the pro-union Better Together campaign earlier this month, prompting universities, public bodies and businesses to resign or suspend their memberships.

The BBC last week said that it would suspend its membership during the referendum campaign period.

The National Union of Journalists said that 99 per cent of the 50 BBC members who attended a meeting in Glasgow today called on the corporation to resign fully from the CBI.

BBC Scotland's headquarters at Pacific Quay, Glasgow. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Paul Holloran, Scottish NUJ Organiser, said: “There was a real concern and anxiety about the damage that CBI membership is causing.

“Journalists are already under enough pressure without being caught up in a shambles that is not of their making.”


Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian universities have all resigned in recent days.

The Law Society of Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, VisitScotland, STV, the Balhousie Care Group and Aquamarine Power have also resigned.

A BBC spokesman said: “We understand the NUJ have been in touch with the BBC and we will respond in due course.”

The business lobby group announced on Friday that it has now sought to have the registration with the Electoral Commission declared null and void, with its director general John Cridland saying it had made an “honest mistake”.

The organisation - whose members include 1,200 business that are registered and operating in Scotland - has now conducted a review of the situation and taken legal advice from a QC on the matter which concluded “it was never a valid application”, Mr Cridland said.

He said: “We are working closely with the Electoral Commission and have asked them to accept our legal team’s advice and nullify our application with immediate effect.”

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp, Chief Executive of Business for Scotland, said: “We share the concerns of professional journalists at the BBC whose reputation for neutrality is of the upmost importance.

“It is not appropriate that the actions of the BBC management should be allowed to create the suggestion that the organisation and its journalists support a particular political position by association.”