BBC planned live Labour resignation to damage Corbyn

Stephanie Hammond, Media worker

An editor for the BBC’s Daily Politics admitted in a shocking blog post that the resignation of shadow foreign minister Stephen Doughty had been prearranged for television. This cheap act of political theatre aimed to use the state broadcaster to undermine left-wing Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Doughty, the right-wing Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, resigned live on air. This was in response to a timid reshuffling of Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow cabinet.

Doughty claimed on the programme that shadow Europe minister Pat McFadden was “singled out” for sacking – and the only “honourable thing” for Doughty to do was to tender his resignation.

But a now-deleted blog post by Daily Politics output editor Andrew Alexander revealed that the BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg (pictured), along with presenter Andrew Neil, had arranged for Doughty to announce his resignation live.


Alexander wrote: “When the producers arrived they began putting out texts and calls to Labour MPs we thought were likely to react strongly to the sacking of several shadow ministers for ‘disloyalty’.”

“I wonder, mused our presenter Andrew Neil, if they would consider doing it live on the show?

“The question was put to Laura, who thought it was a great idea… Within the hour we heard that Laura had sealed the deal: the shadow foreign minister Stephen Doughty would resign live in the studio.”

He went on to write: “We knew his resignation just before PMQs [prime minister’s questions] would be a dramatic moment with big political impact.”

Impartiality is supposedly the core value of the corporation, whose rules state its news output must be politically ‘unbiased’.

Labour filed an official complaint to the BBC, accusing it of arranging and exploiting Doughty’s resignation for political impact. The BBC responded by saying it was simply breaking the news.

The national press has relentlessly attacked Jeremy Corbyn from the outset of his election as leader. Whether right-wing or nominally ‘left-wing’, the mainstream media has been hostile to Corbyn and his grassroots support.

The 1% and their cronies at the head of the mass media and BBC want to defend their privileged lifestyles. They have no answer to the anti-austerity anger which propelled Jeremy Corbyn to head of Labour. So they resort to sensationalism and distraction.

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