BBC’s woefully inadequate excuse for not editing out Perry’s Question Time libel


Claire Perry’s barely-coherent Question Time rant

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:

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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?

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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:

  1. on what do you base your claim that Jeremy Corbyn is personally ‘an antisemite’?
  2. did you intend to make those comments outside parliamentary privilege?
  3. 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?
  4. 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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  1. Is there a process whereby the BBC can be prosecuted for wilfully platforming deformation?

  2. As Tories go, this is one of the scariest ones ! She is a total dominatrix who never shuts up ! She spouts Tory homilies like a wave of hornets !

    1. She’s the kind of person often described as a “mouth on a stick” where I come from.
      “Fishwife” is an excellent word that I’d like to see back in common usage.
      For anyone unfamiliar it refers to the coarsest, loudest, screechiest, most vulgar hags on the filleting dock, who often also undertake “other work” with those trawlermen who can stand the smell.

  3. It seems to me that as the “Publisher” the BBC is equally guilty of the libel. What a splendid opportunity to sue the backside off them. I would even settle for a wholesome, grovelling apology from the Been and Perry. Surely solicitors must be engaged….this can’t be left unchallenged.

  4. Has Corbyn said he will take her to court for Libel or instructed his Lawyers to do so? If not, Why not?

    1. Well he didn’t do anything about hodge, so I don’t expect perry to be dragged to court.

      Corbyn’s apparent unwillingness to act will only encourage others to perpetuate the myth. He does neither himself – nor us – any favours, by not deterring others by suing for defamation now.

      While this is allowed to go on it distracts from other, far more serious issues. Remove the ability to label Corbyn an antisemite and the whole bastard lot of them are f**ked for distractions.

      1. Oh, and there ought to be no more of the bradshaw-type out of court settlements with an apology on social media…

        Make sure they’re convicted, and it’s widely reported on.

  5. Dimby’s first reaction was to let the hag have more time, because of the loudness of the audiences reaction to her slander !!

  6. Typical Tory Barbarian and they seem desperate!
    Whilst good news (see latest New Left Review) Neo-Liberal capitalism is in structural decline and the counter narrative of left wing, grassroots, bottom up, participatory, democratic socialism has much to offer as an example to the World in my view if he word of the democratic revolution and transformation under JC is HONESTY!

  7. Can someone please blast that ignorant, racist, empty vessel hate monger into space please, so we can never hear her speak her vile nonsense ever again? Thank you.

  8. Facebook have blocked this blog but one can send it in Messenger

  9. You can look at it another way, it did show was a stupid bigoted racist Claire Perry is to a much wider audience, and the excellent reply by Barry Gardiner

  10. Slander, not libel. To compound the BBC’s irresponsible actions I listened to Question Time Extra straight afterwards, only to hear a female representative from the Adam Smith Institute state that “this is exactly what Conservative politicians need to do; go on the offensive & that Katie Perry was right”. No rebuke from presenter, Adrian Chiles. A new low from State run television. Serious questions need to be asked about how BBC undermines democracy.

      1. Perry’s verbal abuses were slanderous; the BBC’s decision to publish/broadcast was libel. JC can & should sue both parties, but that will never happen.

  11. The excuse that Barry Gardiner was given a chance to answer Perry is not good enough. Dimbleby himself, who is the Chair and responsible for the conduct of the discussion, should have asked her to apologise immediatly on the programme while those people in the audience were supporting her slanders and lies.

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