Sunday evening’s two articles on the apparent unlawfulness and odd practice of the Copeland by-election have sparked huge discussions on social media. Some people are adamant that they heard BBC Question Time host David Dimbleby announce that Labour had held the Copeland seat, while others are doubting it.
Below is a link to the full video on BBC iPlayer, which says it will be available for the next 11 months:
BBC Question Time 23/2/2017 (watch from 25m20s)
We also actually hear that Copeland has been held by Labour, the Tories haven’t taken Copeland [sudden hand gesture].. this is purely surmise at this moment, people at the count looking at people’s faces, I suspect.
Dimbleby’s phrasing is certainly noteworthy. ‘We also actually hear that Copeland has been held by Labour, the Tories haven’t held it‘. This is followed by a flick of the eyes to his left – hearing something in his earpiece? – and then he says ‘this is purely surmise at this moment, which is in direct contradiction to the certainty of the initial pronouncement’.
There’s no doubt at all that Dimbleby at first does make the emphatic statement people have referred to. Is the sudden change because he’s suddenly told that it’s just speculation – or because he’s been told to roll back on what he’s just blurted out?
Watch for yourself and decide – but as you watch, ask yourself why someone would be telling him in his earpiece something that’s ‘pure surmise’ with no substance to it, when he’s live on air and needs to concentrate.
Is this conclusive? Not of anything beyond the fact of the pronouncement – but it certainly does nothing to lessen the increasing doubts about the validity, lawfulness and honesty of the result in Copeland.
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