Row breaks out after debate host trots out Tory lines after Boris Johnson fails to turn up
- Credit: Archant
A row has erupted over whether a Channel 4 News presenter was right to give the Conservative Party a voice in a debate which they didn't attend.
Representatives from five of the UK's main political parties attended Channel 4's Britain Decides: Everything But Brexit Debate, but the Tories were noticeably absent.
In an attempt to give parity to every party, even those not there, presenter Cathy Newman consistently interjected to answer on the party's behalf.
Newman was called out during the debate by Labour's shadow education secretary Angela Rayner, and has faced criticism online for the decision.
During the programme, Rayner said: "The Tories have failed and what's really frustrating is they're not here tonight and every now and again you [Cathy Newman] have to pitch in and say 'this is what the Conservatives have done'. Why are they not here to talk about their record?"
You may also want to watch:
The panel were discussing crime rates, and at that point Newman goes on to incorrectly say that violent crime has not risen as Rayner had rightly suggested.
- 1 A lesson from the last of Mainwaring's men
- 2 Tory anger as Labour to hold vote on establishing committee to investigate cronyism
- 3 Nick Clegg says EU 'let itself and millions of Europeans' down over Covid vaccine programme
- 4 The stench of scandal seeping out from Britain
- 5 European Council president faces call to resign over 'Sofagate' incident
- 6 Scathing report accuses Boris Johnson of 'only caring for England'
- 7 PMQs: Commons speaker reprimands Boris Johnson over Greensill response
- 8 Exports to EU increase in February after record fall
- 9 Boris Johnson's government 'doesn't think it has to be aide by rules', says former civil servant
- 10 How the vaccines have shifted opinions over Brexit
Responding to some of the online criticism she received, Newman said: "I had to reflect the views of those who sadly declined to attend in order to comply with broadcasting law."
Broadcasters like Channel 4 are bound by purdah to give equivalent coverage to each party during an election campaign, but for many critics online, the Tories' decision not to attend the debate said enough about their view, and Newman should not have given the a voice.
"As Tories have refused to go on #C4Debate tonight I don't see why Cathy Newman has to say what they might have said on their behalf. They had their chance and ducked it. As I typed that Angela Rayner made the same point to applause. Newman didn't like that though," said Twitter user Briefcase Michael.
Another person said: "Why the hell is Cathy Newman speaking for the Tories?! The Tories declined to take part, thats THEIR call. It should not he up to anyone else to defend their position if they cant be arsed even turning up tonight!"
Become a Supporter
The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.