The BBC is no stranger to accusations of left-wing political bias but Newsnight’s new Economics Correspondent may be the most controversial appointment yet. Predictably, Duncan Weldon is a former Labour adviser, who currently works at the Trades’ Union Congress, but surprisingly he has also admitted to being a fascist as a teenager.
Mr Weldon first made the admission in 2002 when he was in his second term at Oxford University, in the University newspaper: the Cherwell. At that time he claimed to have attended a British National Party protest with around 200 others, a claim he now denies.
The former fascist, who has been appointed to the BBC despite having almost no journalistic experience, has now written a blog post on his website to explain his flirtation with the works of Oswald Mosley.
He wrote: “It began when I read Robert Skidelsky’s biography of Oswald Mosley and found myself feeling some sympathy with the ‘early Mosley’, the idea of a politician who seemed to grasp the need to tackle unemployment where other politicians did not.”
It has now been revealed that, in 2000, Mr Weldon was involved in a racist leafleting campaign. The leaflet itself was considered so incendiary that the British National Party Leader, Nick Griffin, apologised for it.
But Mr Weldon was keen to explain away his previous behaviour by attacking the 2002 Cherwell article, saying: “Among the many lines in it that now make me wince with embarrassment was the opening one: ‘Like a lot of bad things this started with the Tory party.’ I suspect I may be reminded of that line a few times in the coming months.”
Conservative MP, Andrew Bridgen, who has been an outspoken critic of Mr Weldon’s appointment said: “Given the revelations about his secret BNP past, it is clear Mr Weldon is unsuitable for a position in our national broadcaster.”