An interview conducted by one of BBC Scotland’s most high-profile presenters has been branded “disappointing” after its subject, the leader of the Scottish Conservative Party, escaped scrutiny in several key areas.
SNP MP Joanna Cherry called the interview “a lost opportunity” after Gordon Brewer appeared to give Ruth Davidson an easy time during a live TV interview. Brewer was interviewing Davidson on the Sunday Politics Scotland programme after the cancellation of her party conference due to the weather.
Following the interview, Cherry tweeted: “Disappointing interview with Ruth Davidson on @Sun_Pol_Scot. A lost opportunity to quiz her on pro hard #brexit @ScotTories MPs, the absence of David Mundell at Chequers summit & fact that UK Govt impact assessments are even bleaker than those of @scotgov.”
The ‘pro hard #brexit @ScotTories MPs’ was a reference to four Scottish Conservative MPs who have publicly backed calls for a so-called hard Brexit. Three of the MPs signed a letter urging Prime Minister Theresa May to commit to leaving the Single Market and Customs Union, with one publicly backing its contents later.
Davidson also avoided being questioned on the absence of her Scottish Secretary David Mundell at a recent Chequers summit called by the Prime Minister in order to set out the Brexit negotiating position of the UK government. Also missing from the televised interview was any mention of UK government Brexit analysis documents which estimated a negative impact on Scotland even greater than that of equivalent Scottish government analysis.
Commenting on the interview, documentary film maker Alan Knight said:
“Joanna Cherry is being too kind by describing this interview as merely disappointing.
“Ruth Davidson escape scrutiny on some very awkward issues and was also allowed to speak at length on her favourite subject, an independence referendum.”
A segment of the interview was covered later that day on Reporting Scotland. The item highlighted an attack on the SNP by Davidson.
Alan Knight added: “Gordon Brewer didn’t challenge Davidson even after she ranted about the SNP ‘ramming through’ the ‘illegal’ Continuity Bill.
“How can a Bill be ‘rammed through’ when its backed by four out of five parties at Holyrood?
“Why didn’t Brewer point out the Lord Advocate had ruled the Bill legal?
“Why didn’t Brewer point out that the Welsh government was passing a near identical Bill?
“It wasn’t an interview, it was a platform for Ruth Davidson.”
Meanwhile complaints have been submitted to the BBC following an exchange involving Brewer and an SNP MSP later in the programme. The presenter accused First Minister Nicola Sturgeoen and her Transport Minister, Humza Yousaf, of having “blamed truck drivers” after vehicles became stranded on snow bound motorways.
Footage from First Minister’s Questions showed the First Minister had very clearly stated she was not in fact blaming HGV drivers. The false claims had originally been aired on Reporting Scotland three days earlier.
Nicola Sturgeon was also forced to take to twitter after a Labour MSP levelled the same false allegation as had been made by the BBC Scotland presenters.
The SNP leader accused Neil Findlay of “disorting the truth”.
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