A hardline Brexiteer has complained to the BBC about the use of the phrase ‘hardline Brexiteers’ to describe those who want Britain to leave the EU with no deal.
Kate Hoey, co-chair of the Labour Leave campaign group and a vocal proponent of a no-deal Brexit, wrote to the corporation after hearing it used in a bulletin this week.
She moaned: ‘The word ‘hardline’ has been creeping into descriptions of MPs who are pro-Brexit for a year or so now.
‘After hearing it in a BBC news bulletin this week, I wrote in to complain.’
The Brexit ultra, who has suggested that the Republic should pay for a physical border in Ireland once the UK leaves the EU, wrote in an opinion piece for the i newspaper that the BBC’s ‘sloppy and loaded approach has become worse since the referendum’.
She wrote: ‘The term ‘hardline’ has been used by BBC journalists to describe President Trump’s immigration policies and a vicious wartime Japanese governor.
‘It is clearly not intended as a compliment. News-Watch [a right-wing website which monitors the BBC for signs of left-wing bias] surveyed the coverage on Radio 4’s Today programme of Parliament’s defeat of the Withdrawal Deal.
‘Only a handful of the 111 contributors were firm supporters of implementing the referendum result. And the main one – Steve Baker, spokesman for the ERG group – was introduced as – surprise! – ‘hardline’, a term never applied to figures such as David Lammy or Dominic Grieve, who are ‘hardline’ in trying to thwart leaving the EU.
Jonathan Munro, head of newsgathering for the BBC, said in his reply to Hoey: ‘We do take great care in our language on Brexit. I’m sorry you were unhappy with the scripting of our early evening bulletin on Sunday.
‘The term ‘hardliner’ is in use across the media, including most newspapers, generally to distinguish the views of members of the European Research Group from their Conservative colleagues who support Brexit, but have indicated they are more flexible about the terms the Prime Minister is negotiating.
‘Our headline referred to ‘Tory hardliners’ and the introduction to the report made clear the term was being used in the context of the debate over the Northern Ireland backstop.’
In related news, Kate Hoey is a hardline Brexiteer.