BBC presenter criticised for admitting to blocking pro-European Twitter users

Andrew Neil challenges Boris Johnson. Photograph: BBC.

Andrew Neil challenges Boris Johnson. Photograph: BBC. - Credit: Archant

BBC presenter Andrew Neil has been criticised for openly admitting to blocking users referencing the 'Follow Back Pro-Europe' hashtag on Twitter.

The Andrew Neil Show and Politics Live presenter has been accused of blocking and muting users that do not agree with him after openly admitting blocking #FBPE accounts.

The hashtag has been used by pro-Europeans and Remainers on Twitter, and stands for 'Follow Back, Pro European', but has been hijacked by pro-Brexit users too.

Neil has previously called users that reference the hashtag followers of a 'numpty cult' - calling those referencing the letters in their Twitter name 'trolls'.

The broadcaster was particularly angered by the responses to some of his tweets about the government's handling of coronavirus, claiming that their responses were 'drivel'.

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He tweeted: 'With time on my hands I'm blocking or muting all #FBPE I come across. They've gone from drivel about their original obsession to even worse drivel about coronavirus. Life too short to waste time on their meanderings.'

But his announcement was met with criticism from those that believed it was wrong for a BBC political journalist to admit it when he should be showing impartiality.

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'In a time of national crisis, a journalist with 'time on his hands' is no longer a journalist,' said one.

'A real journalist doesn't mute one side of the argument just because he disagrees with it. Becoming an embarrassment to the BBC,' wrote @SW1_Confused.

'To me the #FBPE are the only people holding the government to account,' said Baz Smith. 'Many of our number are scientists and academics so know what they are talking about. We are also a international network which is what is sorely needed at the moment.'

'Perhaps you should be doing your job and holding the government to account?' asked one.

'Andrew Neil is a snowflake. He can dish it out but can't take it. And now revealed as Brexiteer,' wrote another.

'Hope you do the same to the die hard Brexit lot blaming EU for PM's coronavirus', tweeted Jane Gilbert.

'Tempting policy... might adopt it and extend to anyone with a flag of any kind,' replied Daran Hill.

'He has no other answer when he's brought under scrutiny himself,' complained another.

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