The SNP’s Defence spokesperson at Westminster has complained after being dropped from the BBC’s News at Six.
Stewart McDonald had been asked by the BBC to film clips for Thursday evening’s programme, which was covering the possibility of UK intervention in Syria. The MP had been promised his input would be used on both the News at Six and the News at Ten.
However when the News at Six aired, the contribution from the SNP MP was nowhere to be seen. Instead viewers were treated to clips of two Conservative MPs, two Labour MPs and one Lib Dem MP.
An angry Mr McDonald [pictured] tweeted: “I was asked by the BBC to do clips for the 6pm news. I changed my schedule & recorded them outside Pacific Quay. Not used and instead 2 Conservatives, 2 Labour & 1 Lid Dem used. Media is the only forum we have without recall of Parliament so vital the media plays its role.”
The MP added: “This isn’t about me, and I’m not one to normally criticise how the BBC does its job, but without parliament being recalled then the media is the only major public platform that political parties have as the government considers military action. This needs to be realised.”
The MP’s public complaint prompted a response from the BBC’s Westminster Editor, Katy Searle who said: “As planned – the SNP will be in the Ten.”
However MP Mr McDonald challenged the claim whilst pointing out the lack of balance in the item that aired: “6pm and 10pm is what I was told. I don’t want to string this out, but it is frustrating that there was such an imbalance when I recorded the material.”
The issue witnessed at least one colleague of McDonald air her own dissatisfaction with the BBC. SNP MP Joanna Cherry QC tweeted: “Hey @BBCNews & @JPonpolitics #Syria a really important issue @theSNP have a clear policy on need to avoid rush to action & requirement for a parliamentary vote FYI we’re the 3rd party not Lib Dem so why no mention of us in your report?”
Despite being the third largest party at Westminster, the SNP is regularly ignored in favour of smaller parties on BBC UK news and current affairs programmes. The clip below, which is from BBC News the day Theresa May toured the UK, has input from May herself as well as Labour, the Lib Dems and ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage. The SNP were ignored.
Labour peer Lord Andrew Adonis recently complained that Farage had been a guest on the BBC’s Question Time programme no fewer than thirty two times – despite his party only ever having one MP.
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