BBC will not give Abbott/QT footage to Labour – or correct fake news in broadcast

The SKWAWKBOX reported Diane Abbott’s damning comments concerning the behaviour of the BBC’s Question Time programme. During the pre-show warm-up, according to several audience members, Abbott was the butt of misogynist jokes and comments, while during the programme she was constantly interrupted and host Fiona Bruce contradicted her to corroborate a completely false assertion by a right-wing panellist.

The incident became a high-profile feature in the mainstream press and Abbott condemned the show’s “inappropriate and sexist commentary in the audience warm-up session“.

However, the BBC denied any wrongdoing – in spite of issuing a tweet via its @bbcpress account admitting that it ‘should have made…clear‘ that Bruce’s contradiction of Ms Abbott’s statement about Labour’s polling was false:

Of course, a tweet correcting the programme’s fake news in no way balances that fake news being broadcast live to a huge television audience.

That was not the end of the matter. The Labour Party contacted the BBC to complain about the incident – and to ask for the footage of the pre-show warm-up. But it appears that the request is going to be ignored.

The SKWAWKBOX contacted the BBC to enquire whether the Corporation would be sending the requested footage to Labour and whether this week’s Question Time programme would feature a correction of last week’s fake news.

After consulting with its current affairs team, a BBC spokesperson advised that it will issue no further correction beyond the tweet – and refused, despite requests, to say it would provide any footage to the Labour Party, referring instead to the following comment as its last word on the matter:

We are sorry to hear Diane Abbott’s concerns over last night’s edition of Question Time and we have contacted her team today to reassure them that reports circulating on social media are inaccurate and misleading.  Diane is a regular and important contributor to the programme.  As we said earlier, we firmly reject claims that any of the panel was treated unfairly either before or during the recording.

A BBC spokesperson

SKWAWKBOX comment:

The BBC has taken it upon itself to teach schoolchildren how to ‘spot fake news’ – yet it propagated outright fake news in its programme last week and is refusing to issue a comparable correction by advising its viewers during this week’s programme of the false information communicated the week before.

Not only that, but it appears to be ‘circling the wagons’ to protect those involved in last week’s inexcusable incident by withholding evidence that would either prove or lay to rest the claims of audience members about the comments during the pre-show warm-up.

Yet in spite of this nonsense, centrists – and at least one Tory MP, the ironically-named James Cleverly – have attempted to defend the BBC’s behaviour.

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  1. An abysmal response to their abysmal behaviour.

    Promoting the Establishment’s anti-Labour propaganda seems to be the BBC’s role these days. Stooping to racism and sexism is completely unacceptable. I can see a lot more people choosing to boycott the BBC.

  2. They could hardly admit their guilt more completely.

    They have given up even pretending to be neutral. If they were, they should provide the footage regardless of whether it exonerates or convicts them.

  3. Litigation should be started against the BBC immediately! They’ll have to respond and perhaps we might get to the bottom of this scandal. Why hasn’t the DG come out and apologised?

    1. The Left needs to up its game on this issue.

      Undercover journalists from the likes of The Canary, Skwawkbox, Evolve Politics, the Morning Star, George Galloway’s team, et al,.. should infiltrate these audiences and record events using undercover/covert cameras.

      It just takes one piece of damning video evidence to pierce the BBC’s armour. If someone had recorded Bruce’s alleged ‘jokes’ which belittled Diane Abbott in the warm up, then the BBC would currently be embroiled in a frantic back-peddle.

  4. We are where we are with the BBC because there is no real fail safe in place, no proper independent accountability, therefore, they can do whatever they like without recourse. When it’s so difficult to make complaints and designed that way on purpose, dealt with in house after these difficulties, then abused, as we’ve witnessed on numerous occasions, the system is broken. The BBC I’m afraid is no longer a public service.

  5. The story did feature on Radio 4 news at 6 and 10 last night, with some of the same info as in the tweet – and saying that Diane Abbott was correct – but I can’t recall that there was any mention of Labour being ahead in any polls.

    1. When going on most tv shows you have to sign something, often these include instructions that you cannot record without permission

  6. The only thing that can be done is for audience members to secretly record events on their phones, then upload the evidence to social media.

    Also ditch the television so the BBC don’t receive a licence fee.

  7. Did they give an explanation for why they won’t release the footage?

    Given the allegations, surely they’d want to get to the bottom of it. Well, maybe not! The problem for them is that they have ALREADY issued a statement refuting the allegations, so if they released the footage, it wouldn’t only show Fiona Bruce doing a number on Diane, but that they then lied about it.

    The Labour Party HAVE to take legal action on this and sort the anti-Corbyn brigade at the BBC out once and for all. And I hope they’ve been on to Channel 4 News as well about Andrea Leadsom disseminating the same falsehood/deception last Tuesday about the Tories being 6 points ahead “in the polls” – ie in the plural, and not just ONE yougov poll done for the Times that was totally at odds with all the other polls. Apart from all the other yougov polls done for the Times, that is!

    And just in case anyone didn’t it see it when I posted it before, here’s a wikipedia list of ALL polling results (just scroll down the page and the list is just after the graph):


  8. Thanks for that link to overall poll results. Interesting to see the time sequence – rather more informative than spot results.

    Difficult to draw any conclusions – but not great news overall – noticeable that both the Tories and Labour have seen a declining share of the vote, but a more consistent decline for Labour, and Tory votes leaking to UKIP around August last year.

    There appears to be a couple of downward ‘notches’ in the Labour results – in April and August last year. Not sure what these correlate to, although the second coincides with an uptick in the LibDem vote.

    The main message is another take on the division in the country, and the lack of any clear shift away from that.

    As for QT – it’s a bear shitting in the woods, and I simply don’t find that entertaining, so never watch.

  9. In the tweet/statement by the BBC Press News Team it says the following:

    ‘A YouGov poll published on the day of the programme suggested a lead for the Conservatives.’

    Now what’s ineresting is if you look at the wikipedia list of poll results, the yougov poll was conducted on the 13th and 14th of January, and then published three days later on the 17th (on the day of the program). But at more-or-less the same time, Kantar conducted a poll from the 10th to the 14th (for themselves as far as I can make out), which THEY then published the next day on the 15th. Yes, there was a difference in the sample size – Kantar’s was 1,106, and yougov’s 1,708 – so the yougov poll may very well have taken a bit longer to prepare, but I would have thought that yougov could have got the results to the Times in time for their Wednesday edition of the hard copy newspaper and – given that they have a paywall – up on their website in a matter of several hours after receiving the results of the poll. Given that yougov do a poll for the Times on a weekly basis, it would be interesting to see if it usually takes three days before it’s ready to publish.

    And then there’s the small matter of how the yougov polls (for The Times) practically always have the Tories 5 or 6 points ahead of Labour AND completely at odds with the results of the other pollsters. Out of the seven OTHER polls conducted since the PREVIOUS yougov poll for the Times (on the 6th and 7th Jan), THREE of them have Labour 3 points ahead of the Tories, one has it 2 points ahead, one even-steven, and the other two have the Tories 1 point and 2 points ahead respectively.

    The tweet then finishes by saying:

    ‘Diane Abbott was also right that some other polls suggested Labour either as ahead or tied, & we should have made that clear.’

    The point is of course……. why DIDN’T you make it clear? And if you acknowledge that you should have made it clear at the time, and given that several million people who watched the program now believe that the Tories are 6 points ahead of Labour, and the poll cited by Isabel Oakeshott was at odds with other polls – as the yougov polls for The Times practically always ARE (as with the one they did for People’s Vote no doubt just recently) – then you should of course make it clear in this week’s program and, as such, rectify the misinformation conveyed to your viewers by Isabel Oakeshott AND backed up by Fiona Bruce. And given that Isabel Oakeshott referred to “polls” having Labour 6 points behind the Tories – which Fiona Bruce said was definitely the case – perhaps you could also explain which polls they were both referring to.

    Or why not all just come clean and admit it was a stitch-up?!

    Footnote: I may be wrong, but I thought Oakeshott said 6 points, and yet the poll she was citing – according to the BBC tweet – has the Tories 5 points ahead.

  10. And since when was a 5 or 6 point deficit “miles behind” anyway! And especially when the 3% +/- margin of error is taken into account. But of course the yougov polls for the Times are fraudulent anyhow, and Oakeshott – and Fiona Bruce – know it.

  11. We are sorry to hear Diane Abbott’s concerns over last night’s edition of Question Time and we have contacted her team today to reassure them that reports circulating on social media are inaccurate and misleading.

    Once again the bbc are (more or less) calling those people what tweeted about the incident, liars. Just like the bbc thinks anyone that doesn’t require a licence MUST be a liar.

    Just a thought, but would a Subject Access Request (SAR) from either any one of the twitters or diane abbot herself force the bbc to hand over video footage?

      1. My thoughts exactly!!

        Be in no doubt they’d stick down on the £10 fee(s) as well :/

    1. Who was it that made this ‘comment’, and who did they make it to? And it’s a totally bizaar ‘comment’ anyway! It implies that the only reason Diane had concerns about the program is because she saw the reports circulating on social media, and that she wouldn’t have known what happened but for the reports and, as such, it’s non-sensical. What they are saying in effect is “Don’t be concerned Diane, we can assure you it wasn’t like that at all, and the reports are completely wrong”.

      No doubt Diane was relieved to hear it, and is grateful to the BBC for letting her know that the reports were inaccurate and misleading, and it has now put her mind at rest.

      1. BBC to Diane

        “We can assure you that this didn’t happen to you and that the reports are wrong.”

  12. Corroboration on what happened in the warm-up from Denise Richards, a Derby woman with no stated affiliation to Labour (I know and trust Jyoti Wilkinson and Alison Martin but it’s good to see confirmation from someone neutral).

    “Then we took our seats and there was a warm-up session before recording began when Ms Bruce introduced members of the panel.

    “I couldn’t believe it when she introduced Diane Abbott and said that she is close to Jeremy Corbyn and that once upon a time they were even closer.

    Everyone started laughing and giggling and it seemed to set the tone for the evening. I am not a fan of Diane Abbott, but I feel she was treated badly on the night.

    “I thinks she let’s herself down, but on this occasion she did receive poor treatment at the hands of the audience and the panel and it was definitely racial.”


  13. Labour should publicly assure potential whistleblowers of immunity from prosecution in the mass trials under the Subversion of Democracy Act once Labour is in power – provided that the whistle is blown when it can do some good, ie before the next election.
    Then the BBC’s off-screen newsroom workers might find they do actually own a pair after all.
    I don’t mean “the talent” obviously – they’re clearly all Tories and eunuchs.

    No such Subversion of Democracy Act you say? Retroactive legislation unconstitutional and immoral?

    I say the public interest outweighs arguments against retroactive legislation in respect of subverting democracy every bit as much as it does in respect of historic war crimes.
    Governments waging illegal wars, corporations and individuals “avoiding” taxes, governments operating tax havens – all public interest issues thoroughly deserving of prosecution.

    Think there’s a chance I can get it into the manifesto? 🙂

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