‘This cannot continue’: BBC apologises after confusing Marsha de Cordova with fellow black MP Dawn Butler

The BBC confused black MPs Marsha de Cordova, left, and Dawn Butler, right (Pictures: PA)
The BBC confused black MPs Marsha de Cordova and Dawn Butler (PA)

The BBC has apologised for confusing two black female MPs in its politics coverage.

The broadcaster made the mistake of putting the wrong caption under Labour MP Marsha de Cordova on its BBC Parliament channel on Monday.

While showing footage of the Battersea MP speaking from the House of Commons, the caption mistakenly showed the name of her party colleague, Brent Central MP and deputy leader candidate Dawn Butler.

The incident comes only a week after the BBC was forced to apologise after it mistakenly used footage of NBA star LeBron James in a report about the death of former basketball player Kobe Bryant.

After spotting the mistake, Ms Butler, shadow secretary of state for women and equalities, tweeted: “I love my sister @MarshadeCordova but we are two different people.

“Marsha is amazing and deserves to be called by her own name.

“Diversity in the workplace matters it also helps to avoid making simple mistakes like this.”

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Ms de Cordova, the shadow minister for disabled people, later retweeted the post, saying: “This is what happens when the media does not represent the society it reports on.”

She added: “Representation matters. Diversity matters. This cannot continue.”

In another tweet later, Ms de Cordova wrote: “It’s not ok at all.”

In a tweet replying to Ms Butler, BBC Parliament apologised for the error.

It said: “We sincerely apologise for this mistake. Sometimes we incorrectly identify MPs at the moment when they stand to speak.

“This error was immediately corrected on screen.”

After the mistake in the coverage of Kobe Bryant’s death, Paul Royall, editor of BBC News at Six and Ten, apologised.

He tweeted: "In tonight's coverage of the death of Kobe Bryant on #BBCNewsTen we mistakenly used pictures of LeBron James in one section of the report.

"We apologise for this human error which fell below our usual standards on the programme."

The BBC was criticised by one of its own staff last week when Radio 1Xtra presenter Dotty called the error “unforgivable” on her breakfast show.