MPs tell BBC to 'stand firm' after pro-Brexit Tories attack their 'gloomy' coverage

Tom Peck
The letter signed by pro-EU MPs urges the BBC to stand firm in the face of Brexiteer criticism

Ten days after the BBC received a letter signed by seventy politicians over its “gloomy Brexit coverage” it has now received a second letter telling it “resist political interference”, signed by eighty politicians.

A letter to director general Tony Hall, coordinated by Labour’s Pat McFadden (the previous one was coordinated by the Conservatives’ Julian Knight) urged the broadcaster to “report fearlessly and impartially” on the UK’s negotiations over leaving the European Union.

Signatories include former Conservative Culture Secretary Ed Vaizey, the Lib Dem leader, Tim Farron, and the Labour chair of the home affairs select committee, Yvette Cooper.

It reads: “This letter is a strong statement of support for the BBC to be free to do its job to report fearlessly and impartially. The reason the BBC is respected as a news source around the world is precisely because it is independent. And at a time when those who ask fair and tough questions are being denounced, that independence and impartiality is more important than ever.”

Lord Hall defended his organisation in the wake of last week’s letter, which appeared on the front pages of the Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph.

“Impartiality has always been the cornerstone of BBC News. It remains so today,” he said. “We go to great lengths to ensure that we balance our coverage and address all issues from a wide range of different perspectives.”