The British Broadcasting Corporation in Scotland has come to the aid of the beleagured Scottish Conservatives after details of Theresa May’s fishing betrayal were revealed.
Earlier today it emerged that the Tory Prime Minister had agreed a deal with the EU that will see fishing access and quotas remain part of any Brexit deal beyond the two year transition agreement.
According to the document, a new fisheries agreement on access to waters and quota shares must be in place and ready for implementation immediately after the transition period which ends in 2020.
The specific mention of access and quotas is a slap-down for the 13 Scottish Tory MPs who last week wrote to the Prime Minister demanding access and quotas be excluded from any agreement. The demand featured prominently on BBC Scotland’s flagship news programme, Reporting Scotland where viewers were told by the station’s political editor that the 13 MPs “will gain assurances”.
The letter followed similar unsuccessful demands lodged by the Scottish Tory group in March this year. Then, Ruth Davidson’s thirteen MPs threatened to vote against Theresa May’s Withdrawal Bill if fishing access was included.
However, following today’s news that the thirteen had again been ignored, BBC Scotland stepped in and engaged in what appeared to be damage limitation. On the lunchtime edition of Reporting Scotand, the corporation’s Scottish political editor Brian Taylor failed to mention the key text of the agreement that mentioned fishing access and quotas.
Multiple bulletins on Radio Scotland’s Newsdrive also witnessed newsreaders and reporters fail to highlight the key text. On the flagship evening edition of Reporting Scotland, Taylor again refused to reveal to viewers the text that proved SNP criticisms were entirely justified, revealing only that the agreement said: “the United Kingdom will be an independent coastal state … within the context of the economic coastal partnership”
The programme did though provide a platform for the pro-Brexit head of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation Bertie Armstrong. Armstrong painted the agreement as a positive for Scotland’s fishing sector.
The failure of BBC Scotland to cover the story in an impartial and informative manner stood in stark contrast to the coverage provided by Channel 4 News. The station’s political correspondent Ciaran Jenkins pressed Scottish Secretary David Mundell on why he had refused to hnour his previous resignation threat.
The handling of the issue by BBC Scotland will further fuel claims the corporation is operating an agenda aimed at limiting damage to Scottish Conservatives over the issue of Brexit and fishing.
That no presenter or reporter quoted the controversial text from the agreement will fuel speculation that they were either instructed not to mention it, or have themselves decided not to mention it.