BBC told to stop being 'wet' and 'strike back' at Boris Johnson

December 13th 2019 - Prime Minister Boris Johnson celebrates a resounding victory in the UK General Election of December 12, 2019 as the Conservative Party secures a comfortable majority in The House of Commons. - File Photo by: zz/KGC-254/STAR MAX/IPx 2019 7/24/19 Boris Johnson delivers his first speech as Prime Minister of The United Kingdom outside Number 10 Downing Street. (London, England, UK)
The BBC has been warned not to back down against the Prime Minister (Picture: AP)

The BBC needs to stop being “wet” and “strike back” against criticism from Boris Johnson, according to the former chairman of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso).

The broadcaster was slammed by the Tories during the general election campaign after political host Andrew Neil criticised the Prime Minister for not appearing for an interview when every other major leader had agreed to.

Mr Neil dedicated a monologue to the PM at the end of his TV interview with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and Mr Johnson was later called “pathetic” for not appearing on the show.

Discussing the aftermath of the election, ex-Ipso chairman Sir Alan Moses told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Well, what a strange irony it is that there’s a Prime Minister as a journalist who conceives of it as reasonable to criticise what the BBC has done.

“My view is that you’re far too wet about it. I think you ought to be far more stringent in striking back at the attacks.”

Sir Alan added that criticisms like this “happen after every election”.

He said that the BBC’s senior figures may write responses in the papers but do so in a “very polite way” and should be much tougher.

He added: “Democracy depends on people like you and upon the newspapers and if we don’t look after democracy then democracy won’t look after us.”

ITV Business Editor Laura Kuenssberg at the CBI conference, at the Grosvenor House hotel, in central London.
Laura Kuenssberg was criticised by the Labour party (Picture: Getty)

BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg was repeatedly slammed by Labour supporters for her reports during the campaign.

In one incident she came under fire when she tweeted a Labour activist had punched a Tory adviser at a Leeds hospital.


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It later turned out the Tory adviser had accidentally walked into a protester’s arm when a video of the incident was released.

Ms Kuenssberg said sorry for the mistake, tweeting: “Happy to apologise for earlier confusion about the punch that wasn’t a punch outside Leeds General - 2 sources suggested it had happened but clear from video that was wrong.”

Several other journalists, including ITV’s Robert Peston, also tweeted the accusation from the Tory sources.

Sir Alan quit as Ipso chairman at the end of 2019 and was replaced by former Justice Minister Lord Edward Faulks QC.