Politicians call for BBC to save Politics Live to continue offering government scrutiny

PUBLISHED: 10:22 10 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:27 10 July 2020

Mark Francois presents the government's EU referendum leaflet to Ash Sarkar on the BBC's Politics Live. Photograph: BBC.

Mark Francois presents the government's EU referendum leaflet to Ash Sarkar on the BBC's Politics Live. Photograph: BBC.

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More than 100 MPs and peers have united to demand the BBC protect its Politics Live programme from the axe so that it can continue scrutinising the government.

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The cross-party group of 106 politicians have written to the corporation warning that dropping the topical issues show would “seriously harm the ability of the BBC to scrutinise and explain the consequences of policy announcements”.

Among those to sign the letter calling for a “firm commitment be made to the future of Politics Live” is former Labour culture secretary Ben Bradshaw, Tory ex-cabinet minister Theresa Villiers and acting Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey.


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Others giving it their backing include Green MP Caroline Lucas, Plaid Cymru Westminster leader Liz Saville Roberts and former Conservative Party vice-chairman Ben Bradley MP.

The broadcaster announced a raft of cuts to its English TV and radio output this month, declaring that BBC England must save £25 million by April 2022.

As part of the cost-cutting measures, the corporation plans to shed 450 jobs – and reports have swirled that the future of Politics Live “hangs in the balance” as a result of the shake-up.

The show has recently returned once a week after production was paused during the Covid-19 crisis.

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The letter was coordinated by Lib Dem MP Daisy Cooper, who addressed to director general Tony Hall and his successor Tim Davie.

The letter said: “We are writing concerning reports that the future of BBC Politics Live remains uncertain.

“Politics Live has played a critical, daily role in holding the government and politicians in Westminster to account.

“The loss of this programme, particularly given the context of the coronavirus pandemic, would seriously harm the ability of the BBC to scrutinise and explain the consequences of policy announcements.

“Moreover, it is deeply concerning that the consequences of cutting this programme would see the loss of yet another show fronted by a woman at a time when the BBC should be doing more to promote diversity.

“With the BBC’s obligations as a public service broadcaster, we believe these cuts should be reviewed and a firm commitment be made to the future of Politics Live.”

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