BBC accused of 'pessimistic and skewed' Brexit coverage by over 70 MPs

Tareq Haddad
Theresa May

Over 70 MPs have accused the BBC of "pessimistic and skewed" coverage of Brexit following last year's momentous vote.

In a letter penned to the BBC's director-general Lord Hall, MPs aired their grievances about the broadcaster, claiming its coverage failed to "break out of pre-referendum pessimism" and accept the "economic good news" the UK has enjoyed since the referendum.

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It claimed that by not adequately representing the 52% of the country's Leave voters, the BBC would be falling short of its Royal Charter obligation to provide impartial news.

The MPs, consisting mainly of Conservatives and a handful of others, insisted that if the BBC did not correct this "bias" it would undermine national debate, undermine trust in the BBC and put its future at risk.

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"BBC bias can have a substantial effect on national debate," the letter, acquired by the Telegraph, reads.

"BBC coverage also shapes international perceptions of the UK: we fear that, by misrepresenting our country either as xenophobic or regretful of the Leave vote, the BBC will undermine our efforts to carve out a new, global role for this country.

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"We are therefore asking you to take steps to correct these flaws in the BBC's coverage of our EU exit at the earliest moment."

In total, 72 MPs have signed the letter including 60 Tory MPs, three Labour MPs, eight MP's from Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionist Party and Ukip's only MP, Douglas Carswell.

In its response, a BBC spokesman rejected claims it had betrayed the public's trust.

The spokesman said: "While we are always live to our critics and understand that passions are running high on all sides of the debate, it is the job of the BBC to scrutinise and analyse the issues on behalf of the public and to hold politicians to account across the political spectrum.

"That is what the BBC has been doing. It is what the BBC will continue to do. It is precisely of this that the public trusts the BBC."

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