Huw Edwards says attacks on BBC designed to cause ‘chaos and confusion’

PUBLISHED: 12:07 16 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:07 16 December 2019

Huw Edwards on election night. Photograph: BBC.

Huw Edwards on election night. Photograph: BBC.

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Huw Edwards has hit back at ‘toxic cynicism and accusations of bias’ at the BBC from all sides during the election campaign.

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Edwards, who led the BBC's coverage on the night after taking over from David Dimbleby, took to LinkedIn to respond to the latest accusations.

He said: "You realise yet again that the real purpose of many of the attacks is to undermine trust in institutions which have been sources of stability over many decades.

"The apparent purpose, in short, is to cause chaos and confusion."

He said colleagues had to resist "relentlessly vitriolic attacks" and "the sometimes appalling levels of pressure from political parties and their puppets in parts of the press and elsewhere".

Edwards, who has covered every general election since 1987, said: "We sometimes make mistakes which we deeply regret."

But the 10 o'clock news presenter denied "the most curious notion of all (promoted with great energy by the BBC's critics on both left and right) ... that these mistakes are often 'deliberate', carefully planned to undermine one party and boost another."

His comments came as a Labour frontbencher claimed the BBC's coverage was a contributing factor to Labour's loss.

Meanwhile former BBC chairman and Tory peer Lord Grade criticised broadcasters for their response to politicians who turn down appearances or interviews.

He said Andrew Neil was wrong to broadcast a monologue after Boris Johnson snubbed his programme and Channel 4 should not have replaced the prime minister with an ice sculpture when he refused to take part in a debate.

"The issue here is impartiality, and broadcasters have a statutory duty to respect that.

"It is not their job to use the airwaves to cajole and try to coerce politicians into interviews or to shame them publicly if they exercise their right to refuse," he wrote in the Daily Mail.

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