SNP MP threatens to cancel TV licence over BBC Brexit debate snub to First Minister

An SNP MP has threatened to cancel his TV licence unless the BBC includes party leader Nicola Sturgeon in a televised Brexit debate alongside Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn.

Chris Law MP, who represents Dundee West, is furious at plans by the BBC to restrict a live debate on Brexit to the leaders of the Conservative Party and the Labour Party.

News of the proposal emerged this week when the BBC Press Office issued a statement via twitter announcing plans for the head-to-head.

The official twitter account statement read: “Like everyone else, we’ve just heard the Prime Minister has accepted the BBC’s offer to take part in a debate on the Brexit deal on Sunday 9 December.

“We’re delighted she’s agreed and hope to hear soon from the Labour party.

“We have been discussing debate formats with both parties and will announce further details soon.”

In response, MP Law tweeted: “Time @BBCNewsPR got a grip and started approaching all nations and other parties. UK is not a one nation two party state. I will be cancelling my tv license if #bbc cannot represent its license payers and all of these islands.”

The MP added: “This isn’t about who is the future PM but about a major and irrevocable decision that will change our constitution @BBCNews #bbc.

“Scotland votes 62% to remain and polls show even higher support today for the #eu.

“Therefore there is no possible reason for this debate on a fundamental issue to be by 2 leaders only and does not represent the UK political landscape nor Scotland’s voice.

“The @bbc must do the right thing and reflect the wider views of it license payers & the nations of these islands. There is no excuse to do so otherwise.”

News of the restricted debate plan prompted furious responses from SNP politicians, including First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who accused the broadcaster of ignoring Scotland’s voice.

The First Minister tweeted: “If this or any Brexit TV debate goes ahead without all options – including that of remaining in the EU – being included and given a voice, it will be an absolute travesty of democracy. @BBCNewsPR”

The SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford called the BBC plan “disrespectful” and accused the broadcaster of ignoring the third biggest party at Westminster.

Deputy leader of the SNP, Keith Brown fired off a letter of complaint to the BBC’s Director General Tony Hall in which he accused the corporation of breaking its own editorial guidelines and acting on behalf of Downing Street.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said: “We have received the letter, which we will answer in due course, but we have not set out any debate format at this stage.”

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20 thoughts on “SNP MP threatens to cancel TV licence over BBC Brexit debate snub to First Minister

    1. Irene Chalmers

      I’ve cancelled mine already but keep getting threatening letters I have already told them I do not watch BBC channels. Do not record them to watch later don’t watch anything live. I have Sky and Netflix but they now say that I can expect a visit from them but there is no way they can enter my home without permission. I am sick of the BBC and all of their lies so it would be great if all SNP members did the same

  1. Jim Anderson

    It would be better for SNP to advocate that broadcasting licence fees paid by Scotland be collected by the Scottish Government and grants made to the EBC for any programmes they broadcast in Scotland. This way the excess of the fees over the cost of BBC Broadcasting in Scotland, currently this excess is somewhere around £150m, can be used to provide cash for Scottish arts & culture.

  2. Iain Bruce

    Danger is if you threaten like Fluffy Mundell threatens and don’t deliver when you know the Government Broadcasting Corporation will never acceed to such a proposition,then your own political capital gets diminished. Chris would be better just giving Westminster his resignation and if all SNPs followed his example we could have 35 by elections on an independence majority prospectus

  3. millie

    O/T- Irony Alert.

    Gordon Brown – the man who trashed the economy a decade ago.
    The man who left Scotland’s NHS up to its ‘neck’ in debt with PFI for the last decade…

    … has made an intervention — accusing the Scottish government of having “short -changed” the health service –DURING THAT DECADE.

    Of course, all to coincide with- Monday’s offering from Pacific Quay.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bkfr75

    The utter nerve of the man.

  4. Vestas

    SNP politico says “maybe I’ll cancel my license fee”.

    The rest of us are FAR past that point & his comments show how comfy SNP bums have got on unionist seats.

  5. stewartb

    Sort of ‘off topic’, this from the twitter account of Lord (Andrew) Adonis today:

    “In case I haven’t made myself clear to BBC executives & journalists who keep attacking me for standing up for public service broadcasting – I support the ideal of the BBC, I believe the BBC is betraying it, & the rot is now so deep we may need a new public service broadcaster.”

  6. Jockanese Wind Talker

    OK then.

    I’d be more appreciative of a campaign of non payment like during the Poll Tax (a Don’t Pay the Propaganda Tax campaign).

    Maybe Chris Law MP wants to be the public face of that campaign!

    or

    If Chris Law MP doesn’t want to be the public face of a campaign of non payment of the Propaganda Tax he could suggest someone who is?

    1. Jockanese Wind Talker

      Let me be clear over 50% of Scotlands electorate would back the man and have massive respect for him if he did.

      If Chris Law MP did more than just stick his head over the parapet, but actually got out of the trench and took the fight to the enemy at PQ it would be a game changer.

      If it took off (remember Labour Corbynites and Pro EU including Lord Adonis actively calling out the BBC now it affects them and not just Scotland).

      He’d be a fucking legend.

      And I’d be one of the Sovereign Scots on the protest marches giving him my full support.

  7. Clydebuilt

    The EBC will want to resist SNP involvement in the debate, an out for them would be a pro Remain MP eg Caroline Lucas.
    Then they will have
    1. brought width into the debate
    2. Ignored Scotland
    3. Kept the SNP out of the spotlight

  8. Bill

    Well done Chris. I cancelled mine in 2014 and will not give the EBC another penny.
    I couldnae sleep at night knowing I was funding their lies and bull$hit so I pay for Netflix instead.

  9. Dave

    It is time the Scottish government de-criminalised the non-payment of the BBC licence fee so people can withhold payment in protest without the fear of a criminal record.

    The SNP is too soft when it comes to dealing with Westminster and MSM bias.

  10. BRIAN MACFARLANE

    I laugh at that. The BBC for years since I was a child in fact terrorised ordinary folks with their laughable detector vans. It was nothing but a ruse. The BBC should be forced into the 21st century and have to earn their corn

  11. JB

    ‘The BBC should be forced into the 21st century and have to earn their corn’ – brilliant oxymoron, and when the erse* draps oot the pound, might not be so far off the Mark (circa 1920s).

    *Gaelic for *rse.

    That apart, it occurred to me a while back, that if we wanted to get the BBC to pay attention, it would have to be organised. It would be more honest (if we use their service), less open to criticism and much more effective if a significant number withheld payment until the BBC agreed to allow BBC Scotland complete control over the licence revenue raised here.

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