BBC Slammed for Chasing Sacked Minister with Helicopter

An MP has slammed the BBC for spending potentially thousands of pounds hiring a helicopter to follow former minister Priti Patel from the airport to Downing Street.

Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi said the BBC had helped create a “feeding frenzy” whilst another Conservative MP estimated the helicopter could have cost licence fee payers around £500 an hour. It is estimated to have been in the air for more than three hours.

Mrs. Patel, a committed Brexiteer, was forced to resign last night after holding a number of meetings with Israeli officials, including prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, whilst on a family holiday earlier this year.

In her resignation letter, she told the prime minister: “While my actions were meant with the best intentions, my actions also fell below the standards of transparency and openness that I have promoted and advocated.

“I offer a fulsome apology to you and to the Government for what has happened and offer my resignation.”

After flying back from an official trip to Africa, before stepping down, the BBC and other news outlets chose to track her movements from the air.

Even BBC correspondent Julia Macfarlane appeared to mock the situation, tweeting: “Like a scene from [the comedy film] Rat Race, the BBC helicopter is now flying after Priti Patel’s car as it goes from Heathrow to Downing Street.”

A BBC spokesman insisted there was no “additional cost” to the licence payer in using a helicopter to film the minister, and told Breitbart London: “This is a shared helicopter and the aerial footage was also broadcast by ITV News, Channel 4 News, and Channel 5 News.

“This was the political news of the day attracting coverage across all media and the footage usefully illustrated the story.”

“I think the feeding frenzy from many of your colleagues, and especially the BBC, hiring a helicopter to follow Priti’s motorcade or car from Heathrow to Downing Street created such a distraction for Priti and her own work for the government,” Mr. Zahawi told ITV’s Good Morning Britain show.

On Twitter, Tory Director of Public Policy Projects Ben Howlett claimed: “For the cost of hiring a helicopter to follow #PritiPatel for [one] hour, @BBCNews could have paid for 264 malaria prevention nets – I know where money is better spent.”

BBC Home Duty Editor Allie Hodgkins-Brown attempted to justify the use of a helicopter, saying it was needed to provide “pictures to illustrate a fast moving story”.

Other MPs and prominent users of social media were unimpressed at how the national broadcaster had chosen to use limited funds.


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