Labour claims Sky News is showing Tory bias with its election branding

PUBLISHED: 09:39 16 November 2019 | UPDATED: 13:19 16 November 2019

The Sky News branding for the general election. Photograph: Sky.

The Sky News branding for the general election. Photograph: Sky.

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Labour has claimed Sky News' use of the strapline 'The Brexit Election' unfairly gives the Tories an advantage in the election.

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It has written to the broadcasting watchdog Ofcom to claim that the description "gives undue and unfair weight to the Conservative Party's political agenda", pointing out that the Tories are using Brexit in their campaign slogan.

Labour said the news channel's branding "represents unnecessary and slanted editorialising".

In the complaint, the party wrote: "We are requesting that Ofcom investigates Sky News for its corporate branding of the General Election as 'The Brexit Election'.

"We believe it gives undue and unfair weight to the Conservative Party's political agenda because it frames the election in terms chosen by Boris Johnson and the Conservative Party, which is using Brexit in its campaign slogan.

"It is also, of course, the name being used by one of the political parties contesting seats in the election, which is seeking to form an electoral alliance with the Conservatives.

"If Sky had chosen the entirely reasonable branding of The Change Election, that could be argued to favour the Labour Party, which is using 'It's Time For Real Change'.

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"We do not believe Sky is complying with the special impartiality requirements that must be applied during elections - with particular reference to sections 319(2)(c) and 320 of the Communications Act 2003.

"We believe this corporate branding represents unnecessary and slanted editorialising by Sky. It is the voting public who should decide what issues - and their range and balance - define the election for them.

"Voters might consider it to be The NHS Election, The Climate Election or The Foodbanks Election, depending on their priorities.

"We have raised the issue at a senior level with Sky News on numerous occasions since the branding first appeared.

"It has been made clear that Sky intends to continue to use the branding. We therefore believe we have exhausted our complaints with the broadcaster so we are asking Ofcom to investigate."

A spokesman for Ofcom said it is assessing the complaints before deciding whether or not to investigate.

Presenter Adam Boulton previously argued on-air with Tory candidate Michael Gove it was not a strapline intended to suggest Brexit was the key issue of the election, but the fact that the election was sparked because of the Brexit deadlock.

Sky News was not available for comment.

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