BBC finally admits errors in Nigel Farage story as it 'clarifies and updates' Coutts report

Nigel Farage and inset of New Broadcasting House

The BBC 'clarified' a story about Nigel Farage's Coutts bank account closure

Dan Falvey

By Dan Falvey

Published: 21/07/2023

- 11:31

Updated: 21/07/2023

- 12:46

The national broadcaster previously claimed the GB News presenter's account was shut because he did not reach the financial threshold

The BBC has admitted to errors in the way it reported the closure of Nigel Farage's Coutts bank account after mounting pressure on the broadcaster.

The corporation's business editor, Simon Jack, said on social media this morning that his original story had been "clarified" and updated.

It came after corporation found itself facing criticism after it claimed that the former Brexit Party leader's account had been shut because he fell below the financial threshold required to hold an account.

The bank requires its customers to borrow or invest at least £1million, or hold £3million in savings, according to an eligibility questionnaire on its website.

Nigel Farage on GB News

Nigel Farage has launched a formal complaint against the BBC

GB News

But it later emerged in a dossier produced by the bank that Farage's account was closed because his political opinions "do not align" with the bank's values.

The GB News presenter was labelled a racist and xenophobe by the bank, with it warning he had made remarks which were "distasteful and appear increasingly out of touch with wider society".

Last night the CEO of NatWest, which is the parent company of Coutts, apologised for the “deeply inappropriate comments” made about him in the official papers.

Confirming his report has now been changed, Jack tweeted this morning: “It should have been clearer at the top that the reason for Mr Farage’s account being closed was commercial – was what a source told the BBC. That has been corrected.”

\u200bSimon Jack

Simon Jack admitted that his story had been updated this morning


The update makes clear that the broadcaster's claims about Farage falling below the financial threshold came from a source and that document show his political views had been one of the key reasons why his bank account was closed.

However, responding to the BBC's update, Farage said he was launching a formal complaint against the corporation, adding: "I want an apology."

The GB News presenter has also said he is considering his legal options in regards to his Coutts account closure.

Last night former employee at the bank told GB News as many as 40 per cent of customers don't meet strict financial eligibility rules.

Oliver Lewis said: “Coutts has about 100,000 customers and many of them don't qualify for an account. If you apply today's rules about eligibility, they wouldn't qualify. And yet, the bank continues to bank them.

“So what I found interesting about the Farage story is why they should suddenly decide, well, we've got probably about 30,000 or 40,000 clients who don't qualify, but they're happy to keep plus 39,999 and then decide, ‘well, actually Nigel Farage, we're going to boot him’.

“The single largest group of accounts are held by staff, hardly any of whom would actually qualify for an account.”

He continued: “We teach [George Orwell’s] 1984 in our schools, we warn our students this is what can happen if you give too much power to your state.

And yet we have organisation after organisation, which includes now Coutts bank and the banking system, deciding who to unperson and who they would agree to keep servicing based on their political views. I mean, it really is terrifying."

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