BBC torn apart in House of Commons as MP accuses broadcaster of 'one-sided attack'

BBC torn apart in House of Commons as MP accuses broadcaster of 'one-sided attack'

The BBC has been torn apart in the House of Commons by Liam Fox, who accused the broadcaster of a "one sided attack" on MP Peter Bone

Parliament.TV
Millie Cooke

By Millie Cooke


Published: 25/10/2023

- 15:02

Updated: 25/10/2023

- 15:46

Liam Fox accused the BBC of 'attempting to manipulate members of parliament', demanding legal advice be sought

The BBC has been torn apart in the House of Commons by Liam Fox, who accused the broadcaster of a "one sided attack" on MP Peter Bone.

In a back and forth with the Deputy Speaker, it emerged that legal advice has been sought against the BBC after it published a report this morning about alleged abuse by Bone on the day of a vote to decide whether or not he will be suspended from the Commons.


Fox accused the BBC of "attempting to manipulate members of parliament", demanding legal advice be sought.

His comments come on the day MPs will vote on whether or not to suspend Peter Bone.

Last week, Bone was found to have committed acts of bullying and sexual misconduct, with the Independent Expert's Panel (IEP) recommending a suspension of six weeks.

Bone was found guilty of bullying and indecent exposure, with the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards upholding five allegations of bullying and one of sexual misconduct.

If a majority of MPs vote for the suspension, the Recall of MPs Act 2015 will be triggered - meaning that a by-election can be triggered if there is a successful petition to recall them.

Bone appealed the decision, but it was dismissed by the IEP sub-panel as having raised no substantive grounds.



Tearing into the broadcaster for its article about Bone, Fox said: "Mr. Deputy Speaker, as you know, this house will later be voting on the issue of the Honourable Member for Wellingborough, and the IEP report.

"We do not have a chance, of course, to debate the issue the content or the pros and cons of the report but merely to vote upon it.

"It's in that context I wish to raise with you a report on the BBC this morning, 'Peter Bone: Abuse by MP left me broken, former aide says', which contains a very extensive one-sided attack on the Member for Wellingborough.

"This is not in any way to judge the rights or wrongs of this, but merely the principles of natural justice first, from an anonymous briefing against a named Member of Parliament on a day that the BBC accepted MPs would be voting upon it.

"And what I would like to know from you is whether this is an undue attempt to influence Members of Parliament on the day of a vote, which should be our business in this house.

"And indeed, whether it's an attempt to manipulate members of parliament."

He added: "This doesn't just relate to this case, Mr. Deputy Speaker. This relates to any case that we may have to consider in the future.

"And I would like to ask you to ask Mr. Speaker - who has always defended the rights of this house - if he will take legal advice on whether this particular report today constitutes a contempt for the house."

LATEST DEVELOPMENTS:

Peter Bone

Bone was found to have committed acts of bullying and sexual misconduct, with the Independent Expert's Panel (IEP) recommending a suspension of six weeks

PA

Responding, the Deputy Speaker said: "The right honorable gentleman will be aware that I'm not in a position to answer the specific question that he raises.

"But I do know that the director general of the British Broadcasting Corporation will be in this building later today.

"And if Mr. Speaker chooses to ask to see him, I imagine he will make himself available.

"I also know that Mr. Speaker takes this very seriously indeed, and that legal advice has been sought."

The BBC has been contacted for comment.

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