Cross-party parliamentarians accuse BBC of misleading viewers over breaches of rules by Leave and Remain campaigns

A cross-party group of MEPs and MPs have written to the Director General of the BBC, Tony Hall, to complain about viewers being misled on BBC Question Time over breaches of rules by the Leave and Remain sides in the referendum campaign [1].

The letter points to the fact Question Time host Fiona Bruce said there were ‘questions on both sides.’ However, the 13 MEPs and 11MPs who have signed the letter, say this is ‘a false equivalence between illegal acts by the Leave side and politically motivated criticism of the Remain side.’ The letter states:

Viewers were misled and [Bruce’s] comments fed into a narrative that both Leave and Remain sides cheated and that this is fair game. This is a dangerous path for the BBC to follow and for our democracy… and we expect the BBC to challenge rather than support false propaganda narratives.

The parliamentarians have also requested that the BBC prepare new guidelines for journalists with a summary of the findings against both Leave.EU and Vote Leave, including details of the illegal activity and fines imposed.

Molly, who coordinated the letter, said:

“To have suggested there is an equivalence in wrong doing between the Leave and Remain campaigns was totally inaccurate and misled millions of viewers. This false assertion came after both Leave campaigns were found to have acted illegally and just days before the Information Commissioner’s Office slapped fines totalling £135,000 on Leave.EU and Brexiteer Arron Banks. The Remain campaign have never been accused of breaching electoral rules in this way. 

“We look to our public service broadcaster to uphold the highest standards and maintain impartiality. As such, BBC journalists need to be armed with accurate facts and defend our democracy, not fall prey to false propaganda narratives.”


[1] Full letter with full list of signatories here