Recused: Chris Bryant can’t chair the Commons Privileges committee while it examines Boris Johnson’s behaviour because he has already called the prime minister a “proven liar”.
The House of Commons Privileges Committee – that will decide whether Boris Johnson deliberately lied to MPs about Partygate – could be temporarily replaced with an entirely new membership for the job.
Committee chairman Chris Bryant has already recused himself because he has publicly accused Johnson of being a “proven liar”.
The Labour Party must now appoint a new chair, and is said to be looking for a ‘grandee’ to take Bryant’s place.
And there are concerns that that three of the four Tories on the committee – Laura Farris, Alberto Costa and Andy Carter – are on the Government payroll as ministerial aides.
It is entirely possible to replace the whole committee in order to ensure fair process – as happened for the Parliamentary inquiry into Tory former Cabinet Minister Damian Green.
The process may be slightly disrupted if, as is being reported, seven Conservative MPs defect to Labour over Johnson’s Partygate criminality and alleged dishonesty (Dehenna Davison is the only possible defector to have been named).
Obviously they could not be nominated onto the committee but defections would make it harder for the Tories to find candidates.
Stranglehold: The signer was actually interpreting a comment in a previous Nigel Farage TV appearance, but it works equally well to describe feelings across the nation at this minority party representative’s residency on the BBC in the run-up to the EU elections. The BBC is meant to be impartial; where are the other minority party representatives?
Apparently the BBC thought it was all right for Nigel Farage to appear on Question Time because other politicians were there to balance out his views.
It is true that, besides Mr Farage, Amber Rudd appeared for the Conservatives, Jonathan Reynolds for Labour and, yes, Anna Soubry for Change UK.
So perhaps it is right for Ms Allen to have been denied the chance to appear on Have I Got News For You. That would have given her minority party two appearances on the major UK TV network in two days – an unfair advantage over Mr Farage’s minority party.
And in fairness, the BBC should now be giving airtime to the Green Party, Plaid Cymru, UKIP, the SNP, the DUP, Sinn Fein and – oh, yes – even the Liberal Democrats, before letting representatives of Labour, the Tories, Change UK or the Brexit Party have another crack of the whip.
Do you think that will happen?
No. Neither do I. So much for BBC impartiality.
And here’s a relevant point:
BBC cancel Have I got news for you because Heidi Allen who is not a candidate was due to be on but had Farage who is a candidate on Question Time. Can anyone stop this disgrace?
Mr Farage is set to appear on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday – his second appearance in four days.
With the BBC under investigation for failing to uphold its commitment to impartiality, isn’t it surprising that nobody considered this to be a mistake?
The BBC has pulled an episode of Have I Got News For You because of impartiality fears ahead of the European elections – just 24 hours after it hosted an episode of Question Time featuring the Brexit Party’s leader.
It decided to cancel the airing of the show, presented by Jo Brand and recorded the day before, because it realised it could break impartiality rules because Heidi Allen from Change UK was on the panel.
The show’s production team took to social media to apologise, as viewers turned on BBC One to find a repeat of Would I Lie To You instead.
In the statement it said: “Sorry everyone. The BBC have pulled tonight’s edition of #HIGNFY – no, we didn’t book Danny Baker. We booked Heidi Allen, a member of a party no-one knows the name of (not even the people in it), because the Euro elections, which nobody wants, may or may not be happening. Sorry.”
Impartial? The far-right group Generation Identity was given a platform for its racism on the BBC’s Newsnight programme, where its UK leader was apparently allowed to present his views unchallenged.
Who can keep up with the proliferation of racist, far-right political organisations since the Conservatives slithered back into office in 2010 and started spreading divisive propaganda everywhere?
Political austerity tends to give fascism an opportunity to take root in a society and the UK may well become a textbook example of the phenomenon for historians of the future.
The Tories themselves have encouraged this rise, with their acts of hate against people who are sick and/or disabled, job seekers, immigrants – and descendants of immigrants, and foreigners in general.
Now representatives of these – let’s be honest and call them – fascists are being invited onto our TV screens by the BBC, which should know better.
It’s justification? Apparently it is important to challenge hateful ideologies.
That’s all very well, but is that what happened?
According to the i website, viewers were incensed that the BBC would “give an essentially unchallenged platform to Generation Identity, letting their UK leader spread their ideas and hate”.
The BBC can only claim to have “examined and challenged ideologies that drive hate crimes” if it can show that it actually did so. It seems clear that this did not happen.
This Writer hopes that Ofcom, which is carrying out an inquiry into the BBC’s claims of impartiality, takes note of this latest stain on the corporation’s character.
“BBC has defended its decision to feature the group claiming it was ‘important’ to challenge hateful ideologies.
“A spokesperson for Newsnight told i: ‘It is important we examine and challenge ideologies that drive hate crimes in a wider context, whether they have been distorted, and the connection they may have with any European or UK groups.’”
Then yesterday (Wednesday), I noticed a strange attitude towards the Labour anti-Semitism row:
Hang on – one moment we're hearing there's a lack of leadership in .@UKLabour over #antisemitism and the next we're hearing outrage at interference from the leadership! You can't have it both ways! Perhaps #PoliticsLive should decide what it wants.
“Our research has revealed many people are generally concerned about both the reliability of content in an era of ‘fake news’, and the negative consequences of disinformation for public trust and democratic processes. Nearly a third (29%) of adult internet users express concerns about disinformation online.
“The BBC has a central role to play in providing trusted, impartial news. Yet our research has shown that audiences consistently rate the impartiality of the BBC’s TV and radio news less highly than many other aspects of BBC’s news output.
“For these reasons we consider it is appropriate to undertake a review, to examine in detail the BBC’s delivery of the first Public Purpose.”
Mention of “the first Public Purpose” is a reference to the BBC’s Royal Charter, under which it has five such purposes.
They are all listed here. The first is “to provide impartial news and information to help people understand and engage with the world around them. The BBC will provide accurate and impartial news, current affairs and factual programming of the highest editorial standards so that all audiences can engage fully with issues across the UK and the world.”
Judging by the behaviour of the Politics Live crew, Auntie will have her work cut out if she wants to avoid a negative report.
(For another perspective on this, please enjoy the Skwawkbox article here.)
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Apparently, according to @AdamBienkov, the fact a woman who is not a vicar & who appeared on Newsnight wearing a dog collar & supporting May’s Brexit deal, having previously appeared in many BBC shows, is perfectly normal & if the think otherwise you’re a conspiracy theorist
So the allegation was that “Lynn” was not a qualified vicar, but was definitely a person who had appeared as an actor in BBC productions – but the BBC was denying that there was anything shady about her, and was claiming that anyone suggesting this must be a conspiracy theorist. Here’s what the Newsnight team had to say – and a response that suggests the social media sleuths were way ahead of the game:
“Pastor at her own, minute Facebook church”? That deserves a little extra digging – but here‘s Evolve Politics, a social media news site that has already done the hard work for us:
“Whilst Lynn is not a genuine vicar, she does regularly attend church. However, the church in question is her own.
“Yes… Lynn is … the creator of the “Seeds For Wealth Ministries”, who describe themselves as a religious organisation who can help you “realize, release and walk into your financial freedom in Christ. To Educate, Equip and Empower the saints.”
“Newsnight’s claims that Lynn is “a pastor” are incredibly misleading. Pastors are merely church leaders, and anybody can start their own church with absolutely no registration or official documentation needed.
“Hayter also calls herself a “minister” on her acting profile and on her Facebook page, and anybody is free to become ordained as a minister on the internet!”
“She is, in fact, an actor – and not only that, she has previously worked as a minor cast member on numerous BBC programmes.
“Lynn’s full name is Lynn Marina Hayter, and uses her middle name for her acting work.
“Lynn’s past acting work includes playing a Drunkard on the BBC show Eastenders, playing a “Theatre goer” on the BBC show The Dresser, playing a female beggar in the BBC programme Dickensian, and was cast as a nurse in the BBC show The Chronicles.
“Having been cast by the corporation on numerous occasions, Lynn is clearly a figure well known to BBC producers.
“And… her repertoire extends through many ranges, including – one would assume – the part of a supposedly pro-Tory vicar on a prime time political debate programme.”
So: Not a genuine priest, if by that we mean a member of a recognised church. But a genuine actor, and one known to the BBC. And the BBC is unlikely to admit trying to deceive us, so we have reason to doubt its claims.
Is that enough for an ordinary person to decide the Corporation has deceived us? Consider this:
Lies lies lies. She is a paid actor. It is her job. She is not an ordained pastor – she is a right-wing, Trump supporting fantasist who calls herself a pastor. Using an actor posing as a member of the public to support the government is a RESIGNING matter.https://t.co/y0gS2PkTQBhttps://t.co/cpbB30IM62
The caption on this picture reads: “Nick Robinson, former Young Conservatives chairman and current BBC political editor, taking a selfie with some young Tories (Photo courtesy of theblueguerilla.co.uk). Perhaps you’d like to dream up your own caption for this image of wild-eyed, slack-jawed decadence (he’s the political editor at the BBC and people still think it’s left-wing; the mind boggles).
Vox Political is grateful to Beastrabban\’s weblog for the following – and deeply concerned about its implication.
“There was an article in last week’s Radio Times… which threatened to make such bias official.
“Written by one of the news staff, the article suggested that the impartiality customarily expected of the Beeb would soon be a thing of the past. It had gone from American broadcasting, which had suffered no loss of audience as a result.
“American news broadcasting, the article claimed, had been enlivened and invigorated [bolding mine] by presenters and news anchors with a distinct, unconcealed bias.
“How would the British public react, it asked, if a reporter or news anchor over here made various critical remarks about the state of the three main parties?
“It then gave examples of the type of comments that could be made. The article left you in no doubt that the period of official impartiality on the Beeb was limited, and that with a few years it would be gone.”
You are strongly urged to read the rest of the article. It concludes: “It’s not the Beeb I want, and the movement to embrace blatant party political bias should be stopped now, long before it gets started.”
Hear, hear. Vox Political has two complaints against biased reporting by the BBC, under consideration at the moment. This revelation could have a huge bearing on the way those complaints are handled.
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