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Employing serving MPs as presenters is ‘very concerning’, says Labour’s Powell

The employment of serving MPs as presenters on different media channels is “very concerning”, shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell has said, adding that Ofcom “should be looking at these issues”.

The Manchester Central MP noted that news channels and broadcasters are bound by licensing conditions “which mean that they do have to provide balance and some impartiality”.

Her comments come days after Conservative deputy chairman Lee Anderson revealed he is to be paid £100,000 a year for hosting a show on GB News.

The controversial MP for Ashfield joins fellow Tories Jacob Rees-Mogg, Esther McVey and Philip Davies, who all currently host programmes.

Bishop Auckland MP Dehenna Davison previously hosted a show but left when she was made a levelling up minister.

Ms Powell told Sky News’ Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “Well, I think it’s very concerning. I think what is happening on some other channels in terms of that overall balance of opinion…

“This issue has been raised with the chief exec of Ofcom, both by select committee, members of the select committee recently, and also it’s something that I’ve been raising in private as well, and Ofcom should be looking at these issues because they’re the licensing authority, they’re the regulatory authority.

“I think it’s really important that, in this era of dis- and misinformation, we need to know that we can trust our news channels and our news sources, and it’s something that we are very proud of in this country because we do have a strong regulatory regime, and news channels and broadcasters are bound by those licensing conditions, which mean that they do have to provide balance and some impartiality, and I’m not sure that constantly ramming the airwaves of any one of those channels full of sitting Conservative MPs is necessarily the right way of dealing with that.”

Ms Powell also cited the LBC presenting role of her shadow cabinet colleague, David Lammy.

She told Times Radio: “I think, would David Lammy, his particular position, fall foul of banning second jobs? Probably it would. So, you know, that would be something he would have to consider at that point.

“But I think my position, the position of the Labour Party, is that we think MPs’ second jobs should be banned.”