Conservative minister Claire Perry displayed the Tories’ desperation to divert attention from Theresa May’s dismal deal and abject failure on Thursday night when she launched into an irrelevant, defamatory and almost incoherent rant against Jeremy Corbyn, accusing the Labour leader of being an antisemite and repeating the long-debunked claim that Liverpool MP Luciana Berger had to have police protect at Labour’s conference:
Allegations of antisemitism against Corbyn are plainly ridiculous – even those saying it now spent three years denying it before strong Labour polling pushed them to desperation measures.
Luciana Berger confessed on Twitter this week – as the SKWAWKBOX had already revealed – that she had police accompanying her only outside the conference perimeter, otherwise known ‘the street’, where anyone of any political persuasion is free to roam:
Merseyside Police also confirmed that similar escorts were available – and provided – to various conference attendees but that this did not constitute ‘protection’.
Ms Perry’s rant may be unsurprising, given the Tories’ desperation – but why did the BBC show it at all when Question Time is recorded earlier on Thursday evenings and broadcast later, as the BBC’s own site states?
It would have been simple to remove that short section – and indeed, the ability to do that is a large part of why the BBC builds a delay even into live broadcasts – and prevent libellous comments receiving attention.
Normally, even a hint of an actionable comment by a guest will see a BBC presenter scrambling to insert ‘allegedly’ or to distance the Corporation from the comment – but there was no such intervention on Thursday, nor did the BBC take the easy opportunity of editing out the defamation.
The SKWAWKBOX contacted the BBC and received a frankly mealy-mouthed response:
David Dimbleby ensured that Labour frontbencher spokesperson and close ally of Mr Corbyn, Barry Gardiner MP, was given the opportunity to challenge the comments made by Claire Perry MP, which he did.
Gardiner did indeed respond – and put Ms Perry to shame. But that would not normally persuade the BBC to broadcast defamation without its own distancing or qualifying comments as well, particularly when Corbyn was not there to have his own right of reply.
Claire Perry was also contacted for comment and asked:
- on what do you base your claim that Jeremy Corbyn is personally ‘an antisemite’?
- did you intend to make those comments outside parliamentary privilege?
- Merseyside Police have confirmed that Luciana Berger did not have police protection in Labour’s conference. Do you take your news from the Daily Mail? Do you wish to apologise?
- are you concerned about the prospect of legal action over your defamatory comments?
As of the time of publication thirty-three hours later, she had not responded.
Barry Gardiner told Claire Perry that the comments were beneath her. Clearly they were not. The BBC also disgraced itself and once again served as an amplifier for Tory smears and propaganda.
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