Nigel Farage has complained that the BBC is showing its Brexit bias by not airing his latest speech on the 6 o’clock news.
The Brexiteer and MEP believed his speech in the European Parliament should have been aired after the broadcaster showed a clip of comments by a leading EU official.
Despite the UK have 72 other MEPs, Farage told listeners on his LBC Radio show that because clips of his speech had racked up millions of views online it should have therefore been aired.
He made the claim after the BBC used a speech by Guy Verhofstadt, a Belgian MEP and the EU Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, to claim a need for balance.
He said: ‘They broadcast a large chunk of Verhofstadt being, shall we say, somewhat critical of our country. And at the time an editor could have made the decision and said ‘well, look, what Nigel said today isn’t important and say we don’t need to do it’.
‘And that is fine – people don’t need to make judgements.
‘I suppose, my answer to you is this. The BBC is a public service broadcaster and if a speech given in the European Parliament is just a few days later on 4.8 million views you would’ve thought at some point that that would be used or the content within it debated and discussed.
‘And it hasn’t been.’
A caller to his show then suggests that it is because the broadcaster received some EU funding for research and development, to which Farage says that he is ‘on to something’.
Guardian journalist Carole Cadwalladr was scathing about Farage’s promotion of his speech on social media.
‘Farage turns up once a month and often what he talks about has absolutely nothing to do with what’s being discussed. You think, what’s going on? And then you realise it’s got nothing to do with the parliament. It’s just for his social media output.’
She added: ‘It’s these YouTube set-piece speeches, pumped via the site’s algorithm to the phones of a new generation, that are Farage’s power base now. And at the centre of this is RT (formerly Russia Today), the Kremlin-controlled English-language broadcaster. RT made Farage a YouTube star.’
A BBC spokesperson defended the decision not to air the speech.
‘The BBC continues to report Brexit impartially and features a wide range of different perspectives across our news coverage. Our journalists report independently and without fear or favour.
‘It is one of the reasons why the public trust the BBC more than any other source of news.’
Last year it was revealed that UKIP MEPs accounted for 33 of the 35 MEP appearances on Question Time between January 2013 and February 2018.
The other two appearances came from Tory Brexiteer Dan Hannan, with no representation from MEPs in pro-European parties.