The BBC has a “cultural bias” in favour of the European Union and its coverage will be a “problem” in the forthcoming referendum debate, a Conservative MP has said.
Bernard Jenkin, chairman of the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee, told presenter James Naughtie on the BBC’s Today programme that his show “basically got the presentation of the euro wrong – that has now been accepted.”
The Daily Mail says that he also accused Naughtie of presenting concerns about the EU referendum as a purely Tory matter, despite the fact Labour and the SNP joined forces with Tory rebels to defeat the government over to so-called “purdah” rules on Monday.
Naughtie hit back, calling Jenkin “tedious”.
Jenkin also used the interview to call for David Cameron not the use the Conservative Party machine to campaign for a “remain” vote in the referendum, saying that most ordinary part members will be taking a different view.
“In my view the Conservative Party is divided on the European question and therefore should be neutral.
“Most Conservative Party members will be voting to leave the EU – I have little doubt about that.”
MPs also hit out at the BBC in Monday’s House of Commons debate on the EU referendum rules. Former leadership contender John Redwood said BBC presenters seem “devastatingly disappointed” when anyone is sceptical of the EU.
“Has a BBC journalist ever asked someone how they would like to spend all the extra money we would have if we did not make a contribution to the EU, or is it just my bad luck that I have never been around when they have?”
The BBC faced criticism earlier this year for broadcasting a “propaganda” film depicting a dystopian future where the UK had left the EU and descended into chaos. It was later revealed that the programme had been subsidised by the EU.
A BBC spokesman has dismissed the most recent allegations, saying: “The BBC is already committed to impartiality under the terms of its charter and editorial guidelines. We report on EU issues impartially.”