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Question time for the BBC over claims of political bias

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 13, 2014

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AN MP in the region has accused the BBC of being bias towards the Labour Party, in a second attack on the corporation in the space of a week.

North West Leicestershire MP Andrew Bridgen was reacting to reports which surfaced in a national newspaper, claiming a leaked briefing note from the BBC’s long-running political programme Question Time told presenter David Dimbleby to ‘go easy’ on the Labour guests on the panel.

It is alleged the note instructed him to focus heavily on grilling Coalition MPs, with more questions fired towards former Tory Deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine and Liberal Democrat justice minister Simon Hughes.

Mr Bridgen, who has gained cross-party support from more than 100 politicians in his bid to decriminalise non-payment of the TV licence, a major revenue stream for the BBC, called for an inquiry into ‘bias in its flagship programmes’.

He said: “This leaked document confirms what viewers could see in front of them – bias is endemic at the BBC. The viewing public, and licence fee payers, deserve better than this. But under the new leadership things seem to be getting worse not better.

“The BBC should get a grip and hold a proper inquiry into bias into their flagship programmes.”

A BBC spokesman insisted it was satisfied its programme was fair and balanced.

“Question Time goes to great lengths to ensure the panel and audience is balanced and reflects a wide range of political views,” the spokesman said.

As Mr Bridgen’s campaign continues to gather pace, political commentators have questioned whether the end could be near for TV licence altogether.

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