Is the BBC biased against Brexit? Some East Anglian MPs say it is.

The BBC logo at Broadcasting House in London Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

The BBC logo at Broadcasting House in London Jonathan Brady/PA Wire - Credit: PA

East Anglian MPs have signed a cross-party letter criticising the BBC's Brexit coverage.

North-West Norfolk MP Sir Henry Bellingham, Braintree MP James Cleverly, Harwich and North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin, Colchester MP Will Quince and Clacton MP Douglas Carswell joined forces with more than 70 other MPs to accuse the corporation of failing to break out of 'pre-referendum pessimism'.

The BBC has said it will continue to do its job and hold politicians to account, following criticism from the mainly Tory MPs in a letter to BBC director-general Lord Hall.

The BBC responded: 'While we are always live to our critics and understand that passions are running high on all sides of the debate, it is the job of the BBC to scrutinise and analyse the issues on behalf of the public and to hold politicians to account across the political spectrum.

'That is what the BBC has been doing. It is what the BBC will continue to do. It is precisely because of this that the public trusts the BBC.'


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Tory MP Julian Knight claimed in the letter that the public service broadcaster's inability to break out of 'pre-referendum pessimism' to 'accept new facts' was skewing its coverage.

The complaint was also signed by former cabinet ministers Iain Duncan Smith and Theresa Villiers, two Tory peers, three Labour MPs, eight DUP MPs and two DUP peers.

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They said the BBC has fallen 'far short 'of its obligation to provide balanced coverage, warning 'if politicians and the public don't view it as an impartial broker, then the future of the BBC will be in doubt'.

The MPs and peers criticised the broadcaster for 'unfairly representing' Leave voters, including by focusing on those who regret backing Brexit 'despite there being no polling shift towards Remain since the referendum'. 'We know many Leave-voting constituencies have felt their views have been unfairly represented,' the letter stated. 'This phenomenon is weakening the BBC's bond with the 52% who voted Leave and all who wish to make a success of the decision made'.

The group also claimed the BBC had 'skewed' good economic news since the June referendum', adding: 'licence fee-payers have the right to expect better.' They said the BBC had a much larger market share than any newspaper.

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