BBC Scotland chiefs have responded to a complaint that took issue with comments made by Politics Scotland presenter Gordon Brewer after the presenter claimed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had blamed truck drivers for a recent episode in which vehicles became stranded on a snowbound motorway.
In its response the broadcaster said: “During the introduction to this story the programme correctly highlighted that the First Minister suggested nonessential HGV lorries were to blame for the delays on the M80 near Stirling.
“During the subsequent discussion Gordon Brewer asked Humza Yousaf whether more could be done to anticipate bad weather conditions, rather than retrospectively blaming truck drivers.
“Mr Yousaf made clear that he did not believe anyone was blaming drivers, and went on to outline some of the things he will be looking at in order to avoid future problems.”
The complaint related to an interview Brewer conducted with Scottish Transport Minister Humza Yousaf on March 4th. During the interview the BBC presenter claimed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had blamed truck drivers after vehicles became stranded on the M80 motorway during the recent heavy snowfall.
The claim was false. However despite being corrected by Mr Yousaf, Brewer went on to repeat the accusation.
Footage from the Holyrood session being referred to, which showed Nicola Sturgeon very clearly explaining she wasn’t blaming drivers for the chaos, had already been widely distributed days before Brewer levelled his accusation.
Responding to the BBC response, the person who lodged the complaint said: “Not only is BBC Scotland refusing to admit Brewer made a mistake, it is compounding the error by misrepresenting what Humza Yousaf actually said when faced with the false accusation.
“The Transport Minister didn’t say ‘he did not believe anyone was blaming drivers’, he stated clearly ‘nobody blamed truck drivers’, he said that because nobody had blamed truck drivers.
“Why BBC Scotland can’t just admit Brewer got it wrong and apologise I don’t know.”
The episode follows news that an SNP MP has lodged a complaint against the same BBC Scotland presenter following another interview. MP Angus MacNeil slammed comments from Brewer after the presenter appeared to imply Scottish nationalists were parochial and xenophobic.
Brewer was interviewing Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard on the Sunday Politics Show. Pressing Leonard on his own party’s stance on immigration, a stance that has resulted in criticisms from the SNP, Brewer said: “Surely from a Labour party point of view, the idea that a party with your internationalist traditions can be criticised for parochialism and xenophobia by Scottish Nationalists, I mean things have come to a pretty pass haven’t they?”
Responding to the comments, MacNeil tweeted: “BBC Scotland’s Gordon Brewer is beyond the pale. This is Trump’s Style ..have you arguing about cost of wall thus you accept the wall. Brewer makes up lies about the SNP by insinuation as foundation to his question. It is a Trump trick that Brewer uses to push Brewer’s lies.”
The SNP MP revealed he would be submitting his first ever complaint to the BBC as a result of Brewer’s comments.
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