Tory MP’s ​attack on comedian’s right to free speech is rejected

Russell Howard criticised Philip Davies strongly on his Good News TV show [Image: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images].

Russell Howard criticised Philip Davies strongly on his Good News TV show [Image: Dave J Hogan/Getty Images].

Why did Philip Davies complain to the BBC about Russell Howard’s criticism of him? He is a windbag and a toad-faced hypocrite!

Mr Howard’s attacks on him were highlights of his TV show, and the BBC’s ruling means This Writer can support that claim – with this:

Davies’s claim was an attack on free speech. Mr Howard was right to point out the contradictions in the MP’s behaviour, and right to draw the obvious conclusions about his character.

The complaint against the comedian was nothing less than an attack on free speech, here in the UK.

If upheld, it would have set a disturbing precedent. For once, the BBC Trust is to be commended.

A rightwing Tory MP’s complaint about a Russell Howard comedy show in which he was described as a “windbag” and “toad-faced hypocrite” in Commons debates has been rejected by the BBC Trust.

Philip Davies came under fire in two editions of Russell Howard’s Good News, a topical comedy show that provides the comedian’s “unique perspective on the big stories”.

Howard… accused Davies of filibustering, or speaking for long periods to slow down a bill passing into law.

Davies lodged a complaint with the BBC that the comments made about him were inaccurate and defamatory and that the show misrepresented him.

The MP succeeded in getting a clarification about some of Howard’s comments published on the Clarifications and Corrections section of the BBC website [that he did not use up all of the time allotted for the debate].

“Those in the public eye, such as politicians, could expect robust criticism,” said the BBC Trust. “Programmes featuring satire and particularly political satire would necessarily be allowed substantially more leeway in their approach to accuracy and fairness than, for example, news or a current affairs programme. To do otherwise, would be to risk an unwarranted curtailment of freedom of expression which would not be acceptable in a democracy.”

Source: Tory MP’s complaint about Russell Howard jibes rejected by BBC Trust | Media | The Guardian


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8 thoughts on “Tory MP’s ​attack on comedian’s right to free speech is rejected

  1. Roy Beiley

    Mama Mia! Back in the days of Spitting Image, politicians felt left out if there was no puppet version of then. Some even found their caricatures funny and sought to buy them. Why are the current bunch of Tory MP’s so thin skinned? Or are they just testing the waters at the BBC? Glad that the Trust dealt with it and not some sycophantic producer who would most probably upheld the claim by Davies.

  2. Hairyloon

    It wasn’t just an attack on free speech, it was an effective way of making official Mr Davies status as a windbag and a hypocrite, and also of giving it wider publicity.
    I quite often watch young Mr Howard, but were it not for this action, I would have missed this fine skit.

    There is only a couple of point I upon which would disagree with him: I don’t think we can blame him for doing his job. He was elected as a hypocritical windbag, he is giving his constituents the representation they voted for: it is they who are to blame.

    And toad faced is bit harsh: toads are delightful and useful creatures: there is no similarity at all.

  3. Willie Mckenna

    Of course as far as I understand it the government have disbanded the BBC TRUST and is now overseen by OFCOM. We might not get such a fair and democratic ruling from them. Can we guarantee an Ofcom devoid of hearing Their Master’s Voice. No we cannot.

  4. Lell

    Ha and now anyone that missed the show can see the clip here, thereby spreading what a DICK this guy is…. well done Russell!

Comments are closed.