Tory MP claims BBC has ‘big questions to answer’ for airing statement from Keir Starmer

PUBLISHED: 15:32 12 May 2020 | UPDATED: 16:15 12 May 2020

Dehenna Davison gives her maiden speech in the House of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV.

Dehenna Davison gives her maiden speech in the House of Commons. Photograph: Parliament TV.

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A Tory MP had claimed the BBC had ‘big questions’ to answer over its decision to air Sir Keir Starmer’s speech on Monday.

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Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison said the BBC had 'big questions' to answer after airing Sir Keir Starmer's coronavirus speech; PA Wire/ImagesBishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison said the BBC had 'big questions' to answer after airing Sir Keir Starmer's coronavirus speech; PA Wire/Images

Taking to Twitter, Dehenna Davison MP complained that Sir Keir’s response to the prime minister’s lockdown address should not have been aired on the BBC.

Lamenting the decision, the Bishop Auckland representative tweeted: “I see absolutely no reason for this to be broadcast at the expense of the taxpayer. This isn’t party political.

“Boris Johnson didn’t make a statement as leader of the Conservative Party. He addressed the nation as our prime minister.”

“BBC have big questions to answer on this.”

Sir Keir, who is the UK’s official opposition leader, addressed the nation on Monday evening promising to work with the government over its latest coronavirus containment plans.

Twitter users blasted the MP. Many pointed out that Sir Keir held a constitutional role as Her Majesty’s official opposition leader.

Colette Austin tweeted a picture of the BBC’s broadcasting code that showed the broadcaster was obliged to air responses from the government and the opposition during times of “exceptional circumstances”.

She also begged the MP to read the code so that she could stop “embarrassing” herself and her constituents “any further”.

Bert Crisp posted: “It’s a bit disturbing that this needs to be explained to you, but the UK’s constitution is built around partisan opposition. The leader of the opposition is an officially-recognised position in the UK constitutional arrangement, with duties to the public.”

@Cahlum_R wrote: “Its called democracy....It’s normal and has happened many times in the past.”

Another user questioned Davison’s understanding of how a democracy works. Ian Harries tweeted: “You’d have thought you’d have understood what democracy was before standing as an MP. You’ll be surprised to learn that ‘democracy’ is more than ‘a one off vote in 2016’.”

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