Monday, November 09, 2009

BBC Plays Politics

North Thanet`s MP, Roger Gale, has described as "crass and inappropriate" the inclusion of an item relating to the Kelly report in an edition of The Politics Show (South East) otherwise devoted to Remembrance Sunday.

'"I was telephoned earlier in the week by a programme researcher" says the MP "and asked if I would participate in a live broadcast taking place from the home of the Lord Mayor of Canterbury. I explained very explicitly that I was committing the whole of Remembrance Sunday to relevant services and to the Royal British Legion and that I would not, in any event, take part in a discussion about the employment of MPs' wives and husbands in the middle of a programme devoted, quite properly, to a recognition of the service and sacrifice of our armed forces. I could not have made my position more clear.

I was therefore dismayed to find a clip lifted from an interview that I gave to BBC South East and recorded at another time and for a wholly different purpose being used to set up comment between two other parliamentary colleagues about a subject that I had plainly indicated that I did not wish to participate in.

There are important issues arising from the Kelly Report that may have a profound effect upon our parliamentary democracy and that may influence the kind of people that participate in it as Members of Parliament. Those issues do need to be responsibly and appropriately discussed and I have not been reluctant to raise them publicly myself.

I think that to include this item on Remembrance Sunday, however, reveals an insensitivity and lack of judgement that is breathtaking and to use the clip that was recorded for another programme in this way was, I believe, little short of editorially dishonest.

I would like the BBC to make it publicly clear that I did not consent to take part in this aspect of this programme, emphatically indicated that I did not wish to do so and believe that anything that detracts from the recognition, today of all days, of the valour of those who have sacrificed everything in the cause of our protection and our freedom is to be deplored.'

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