Rishi Sunak’s GB News appearance probed by Ofcom after 500 complaints

Rishi Sunak’s appearance on GB News has been put under investigation by the broadcast watchdog after receiving hundreds of complaints.

Ofcom said the so-called People’s Forum garnered around 500 complaints and it was investigating the show under its impartiality rules.

The rules state that broadcasters must present news shows with due accuracy and impartiality. Ofcom pointed to provisions in the broadcasting code requiring outlets to ensure an “appropriately wide range of significant views must be included and given due weight in such programmes”.

Rishi Sunak during GB News’s People’s Forum earlier this month (PA)
Rishi Sunak during GB News’s People’s Forum earlier this month (PA)

The show, People’s Forum: The Prime Minister, was broadcast on GB News last Monday and saw Mr Sunak quizzed over the NHS, his Rwanda asylum plan and why right-wing voters should back the Tories.

Facing a cross-section of voters in County Durham, one audience member pressed him on why traditional Tory voters should back his party over the Nigel Farage-founded Reform UK.

The 60-minute question and answer session took a similar format to the PM Connect events Mr Sunak has held around the country.

The SNP’s John Nicolson, a member of parliament’s culture committee, said he was “glad” to see Ofcom investigating the event.

He said: “I’m glad to see Ofcom investigate GB News again for another flagrant breach of the Ofcom impartiality rules. However I’m not at all convinced that GB News cares much about Ofcom or takes the regulator seriously.”

GB News is currently being investigated by Ofcom for a number of other shows, including many over impartiality issues.

The issue of political figures such as Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and current Conservative deputy chair Lee Anderson presenting topical programmes has also been contentious.

Former pensions minister Esther McVey and backbencher Philip Davies are also presenters on GB News, and former culture secretary Nadine Dorries began hosting a programme on TalkTV before she quit as an MP.

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary David Lammy also hosts a show on LBC.

Mr Sunak’s official spokesperson said the PM did not regret taking part in the programme and said it is “a matter for Ofcom, which is rightly an independent regulator”.

“The prime minister undertakes interviews from a range of broadcasters, outlets and other media,” the spokesperson said.

He added: “Media appearances such as the one he conducted last week are an important part of the democratic process.”