Labour NEC member – and Disputes Panel Chair – Claudia Webbe challenged the BBC after the Corporation’s Jo Coburn tweeted a claim that her Politics Live programme had been unable to obtain a Labour representative for a show in which it yet again recycled the story of ‘Labour antisemitism’:
As Disputes Chair and a member of the National Executive Committee (NEC), Ms Webbe is probably the second most senior party figure with direct involvement in Labour’s disciplinary process. As Labour general secretary Jennie Formby reports to the NEC – and not to the ‘PLP’ – Ms Webbe was the most obvious invitee for the topic.
So why wasn’t she contacted? A BBC spokesperson told the SKWAWKBOX:
We approached the Labour Party Press Office to see who could come onto the show to talk about the PLP criticism of the Labour leadership over anti-Semitism. They didn’t offer Ms Webbe or anyone else connected with the party available for the programme.
‘They didn’t offer Ms Webbe’ cut no ice with Ms Webbe. She told the SKWAWKBOX:
I am not employed by the Labour Party, I don’t have a ‘handler’ in the Labour Party. The BBC have never in the past gone via the Labour Party to reach any member of the NEC. The BBC have my contact number and details. This feels as though they deliberately decided not to make any effort to provide an alternative and/or more balanced view – and by they I mean Politics Live as well as the BBC generally.
It’s as though no one at Politics Live tried at all and this appears quite deliberate.
The absence of a Labour representative and the programme’s failure to follow normal procedures to contact an NEC member were not the only issues with the programme.
As centrist Ayesha Hazarika reinforced false claims that Labour has been slow dealing with complaints, the programme displayed a banner claiming that the motion by right-wing back-benchers had been passed unanimously:
While this claim has been propagated by all the so-called ‘MSM’, it is entirely untrue. As the SKWAWKBOX revealed, there was no vote at all on the motion, merely a question from the ‘PLP’ chair whether any of those present intended to vote against it. As many attendees would have probably abstained and nobody voted at all, the BBC’s banner was factually false.
Despite more than one request to provide a comment on this failure of accuracy, the BBC did not respond.
Yet again shoddy work – at best – by the BBC resulted in viewers receiving a skewed version of events and denied Labour the right of reply that serious journalism requires.
Claudia Webbe deserves credit for addressing the issue head-on and frankly.
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