'You'd do well to listen!' Welsh Secretary tears into Senedd for GB News ban

'You'd do well to listen!' Welsh Secretary tears into Senedd for GB News ban

WATCH: Welsh Secretary tears into Senedd for GB News ban

Millie Cooke

By Millie Cooke

Published: 13/03/2024

- 15:25

Updated: 13/03/2024

- 16:09

GB News was banned from Senedd screens last October

Welsh Secretary David TC Davies has torn into the Senedd for its decision to ban GB News, saying he is "very disappointed".

Last October, the Welsh parliament was accused of "censorship" after using the system to ban GB News from its televisions.

Leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, described the decision to ban the channel from the Senedd's internal TVs as a "disgrace", warning that it should "worry us all".

A spokesperson for the Presiding Officer said the decision had been taken because the channel was "contrary to our parliament’s values." They advised staff and members who want to watch the channel to "do so online".

Speaking at Welsh Questions in Parliament today, Tory MP Michael Fabricant asked: "Is my right honourable friend aware that the Senedd has now decided to ban GB News. What's his policy on that?"

Responding, Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies responded: "There may be a small saving in electricity by doing that but I think its very disappointing that the Welsh Labour government are preventing a perfectly legitimate viewpoint from being heard by members of the Senedd, who would do well to listen to people who don't always agree with everything they have to say."

At the time the channel was first blocked from the Senedd's networks, a spokesperson for the Llywydd said in a statement: "GB News has been removed from the Senedd’s internal television system following a recent broadcast that was deliberately offensive, demeaning to public debate and contrary to our parliament’s values.

Michael Fabricant

Michael Fabricant asked: "Is my right honourable friend aware that the Senedd has now decided to ban GB News. What's his policy on that?"


"There are now several ongoing Ofcom investigations into the channel.

"The Commission will discuss the issue at a future meeting, and staff and Members who wish to view GB News will still be able to do so online in the Senedd.”

Penny Mordaunt, Leader of the House of Commons, spoke out in support of GB News in October, saying: "In Labour-controlled Wales, news programming available on Freeview has been banned from the Senedd. Is it because Labour doesn't want to listen to the facts?"

Last week, the Welsh Parliament was accused of pursuing a "vanity project" after spending more than nearly a quarter of a million pounds on a new TV and digital signage system - which was later used to block GB News from its system.

The Tripleplay system, installed across the Welsh Parliament estate in 2022, came at a cost to the taxpayer of £233,000 in total, GB News revealed.

Davies accused the Senedd of pursuing "yet another vanity project" at an "eyewatering cost". But a spokesperson for the Senedd said the decision to spend the money on the new TV systems was made in order to "replace ageing AV equipment".

The total cost of the upgrades came to £233,000. The costs included £179,000 on combined IPTV and Digital Signage system hardware and servers, video and audio distribution amplifiers, encoders and interface equipment, perpetual licences.

IPTV system hardware and servers allow admins to create a private network and “use transmission and internet control protocols” - something which can be used to control which channels are broadcast.

The Senedd has refused to specify exactly how much this part of the system cost the taxpayer, noting that "detailed costs are commercially sensitive".

Some £29,000 was spent on digital signage units and set-top boxes, while a further £25,000 was spent on cabling and network switches.

Speaking after the cost of the software was revealed, Davies told GB News: "I meant it when I said the banning GB News was a disgrace that amounted to censorship – it should not have been for the Senedd to decide what news people watch.

"Now we have the eyewatering costs of yet another vanity project coming out of Cardiff Bay that the hard-pressed Welsh taxpayer will be footing the bill for.

"Instead of spending millions on 36 more politicians, upgrades to the government bunker and a new censorial TV system, Labour ministers and the Senedd Commission should fund our Welsh NHS properly which still has by far the longest waits in the UK."

But a Senedd spokesperson said: "In February 2020, a decision was made to replace ageing AV equipment across the Senedd’s Cardiff Bay estate and work has been ongoing since summer 2020.

"This programme covers improvements to digital signage, visitor displays and in-office televisions.

"As such, there are no costs relating to removing GB News from televisions in the Welsh Parliament."

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