Shadow minister accuses BBC of contributing to Labour’s election defeat

PUBLISHED: 09:51 16 December 2019 | UPDATED: 09:51 16 December 2019

A view of the BBC New Broadcasting House sign in central London.

A view of the BBC New Broadcasting House sign in central London.

PA Wire/PA Images

A Labour frontbencher has accused the BBC of playing a role in the party’s defeat in the general election.

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Appearing on Radio 4's Today programme, shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald was asked whether continued criticism of Jeremy Corbyn played a role in the election defeat.

But McDonald said: "Don't get me started on the media, Justin. I'm very worried about our public service broadcaster."

"Are you saying that the BBC was in part responsible for Mr Corbyn's loss?" Webb asked.

McDonald replied: "I am saying that they played a part. I'm really worried about the drift. You've seen the catalogue of criticisms that we're making.

"We've accepted that the print media are rained against us, but my goodness me. I'm going to look at us.

"We're the important part here. We got this wrong, but if the BBC are going to hold themselves out as somehow having conducted themselves in an impartial manner, I think they've really got to have a look in the mirror. We've got a lot to say about this."

Asked if the BBC "consciously" played a part, McDonald replied: "Consciously, yes."

He added: "When you have a BBC presenter standing in front of a television camera saying 'and Boris Johnson is on his way to a richly-deserved victory'."

Webb said: "Oh, it's a slip of the tongue. That's absolute madness, isn't it?"

McDonald said: "How many slips of the tongue are we going to make until you accept it?

"I think it's a distraction, quite frankly. Because I'm accepting that we got this wrong ... you asked me about Jeremy Corbyn, I'll say to you quite clearly: he is a principled, decent man and he's vilified.

"I had in my constituency where posters were going up saying this man is effectively a paedophile, 'you would not trust this man with your children'.

"How much more do we need to do to demonise a good individual? So, he's no longer going to be leader.

"The Brexit issue is going to be progressed, we're going to be out of the European Union on January 31 and we as the Labour Party have to galvanise around our core principles and make sure that we deliver for our people. It's as simple as that."

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