BBC impartiality row erupts as broadcaster brands Sunak-Meloni meeting 'far-right rally'

BBC impartiality row erupts as broadcaster brands Sunak-Meloni meeting 'far-right rally'

WATCH HERE: Peter Andre debates whether the BBC licence fee is worth the money

Oliver Trapnell

By Oliver Trapnell

Published: 18/12/2023

- 11:50

Updated: 18/12/2023

- 15:07

MPs hit back against the decision, claiming it raised ‘serious questions’ about BBC policies

The BBC has become embroiled in a fresh impartiality row after describing a political festival attended by Rishi Sunak and Italian prime minister Georgia Meloni as a “far-right rally”.

Meeting each other in Rome on Saturday, the two prime ministers aimed to hold a bilateral meeting to discuss their shared efforts to tackle illegal migration.

The event was also attended by a number of other controversial politicians such as Albanian prime minister Edi Rama and Spanish far-right leader Santiago Abascal.

During his meeting, Sunak warned that hostile states will increasingly “drive people to our shores” to destabilise the West unless leaders crack down on illegal migration.

Sunak and Meloni

BBC branded Sunak and Meloni meeting as 'far-right rally'


In their reporting of the four-day political event, the BBC showed a picture of Meloni with text on the screen reading “Italian PM Giorgia Meloni addresses far-right rally”.

Further, a BBC presenter said during the segment: “Italian prime minister Giorgia Meloni has been talking to a far-Right political festival, which she actually started many years ago.”

Tory MPs have hit back against the broadcaster over the branding, claiming the decision raised “serious questions” about BBC policies.

“The BBC will happily brand democratically elected politicians like Meloni and [Javier] Milei far Right at the drop of a hat, but they won’t call Hamas a terrorist organisation,” a spokesperson for the party told the Telegraph.

\u200bBBC report calls political festival a 'far-right rally'

BBC report calls political festival a 'far-right rally'


“BBC bosses should rethink their careless categorisation and stick to reporting the facts.”

GB news presenter and former Cabinet Minister Jacob Rees-Mogg said: “It is clearly not a far-Right rally but a congress of democratic conservative parties.

“Trust the BBC not to know the difference.”

Meloni's office said last week that Sunak would attend a political event in Rome organised by her right-wing party.

Sunak speaks with Meloni in Rome

Sunak speaks with Meloni in Rome


“The prime minister will travel to Rome on Saturday,” Sunak's spokesman said.

“He will have a bilateral meeting with the Italian prime minister, expected to focus on shared efforts to combat illegal migration.”

Sunak is seeking to revive his plan to deport migrants who arrive illegally in Britain to Rwanda after the UK Supreme Court said it would breach British and international human rights laws and agreements.

“They have talked before as G7 leaders about the challenge that Europe is facing on migration, particularly on illegal migration ... so these are very much shared challenges,” the PM’s spokesman added.

“Italy are one of a number of European countries that are exploring partnerships similar to that we have with Rwanda.”

The BBC has declined to comment.

You may like