Ofcom will conduct research into politicians presenting TV shows

A number of sitting MP's host shows on GB News and TalkTV

Jacob Rees-Mogg in the studio at GB News during his new show Jacob Rees-Mogg's State of The Nation. Picture date: Monday February 27, 2023.
Jacob Rees-Mogg hosts a show on GB News. (Alamy)

Ofcom has announced it is set to conduct audience research into politicians presenting TV shows.

There has been a stark increase in recent years of sitting MP's presenting shows on networks such as GB News and TalkTV.

Announcing the research, Ofcom said: "Viewers and listeners are at the centre of what we do. To ensure our broadcasting rules remain relevant and effective, it's important for us to understand first-hand what people think and feel about the TV and radio content they consume and how perspectives might change over time."

Nadine Dorries gives a speech during the Conservative Democratic Organisation conference at Bournemouth International Centre. Picture date: Saturday May 13, 2023. (Photo by Andrew Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images)
Nadine Dorries hosts a show on TalkTV. (PA Images via Getty Images)

They added: "The rules around politicians presenting programmes were first introduced in 2005. Given the rise in the number of current affairs programmes presented by sitting politicians and recent public interest in this issue, we are conducting research to gauge current audience attitudes towards these programmes."

The announcement is not a review into changing the rules but a research undertaking to see if rules do need to be updated given the changing UK news media landscape that has seen two networks begin broadcasting in the last two years.

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A number of right wing MP's currently host shows on GB News including Jacob Rees-Mogg, Esther McVey and Phillip Davies.

Rupert Murdoch's TalkTV also features shows from Nadine Dorries and Richard Tice. Dorries' interview with Boris Johnson was much criticised by viewers and Ofcom received 52 complaints relating to things she said during the show.

LBC also features several hosts who are also active politicians including Labour frontbencher David Lammy with the party's deputy leader Angela Rayner also fronting shows on occassion.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 25: David Lammy, Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs speaks on LBC Radio on the first day of the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool on September 25, 2022 in Liverpool, England The Labour Party hold their annual conference in Liverpool this year. Issues on the agenda are the cost of living crisis, including a call for a reinforced windfall tax, proportional representation and action on the climate crisis. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
David Lammy hosts a show on LBC. (Getty Images)

Dan Wootton, who is a presenter for GB News, has hit out at the potential for reform, tweeting: "Why have you never had a problem when, for years, LBC allows the likes of David Lammy and Angela Rayner to host regular shows? I guess it doesn’t matter when they’re Labour front benchers. Yet another example of bias from the GB News-hating British Bashing Corporation."

Ofcom's rules currently state that an MP cannot serve as a newsreader, interviewer or reporter on a news programme but they are allowed to host current affairs shows.

Ofcom currently classes a news programme as featuring a presenter speaking directly to the audience, a running list of stories, the use of reporters and correspondents and a mix of video items.

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