The British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC’s) coverage of issues surrounding the European Union (EU) and British membership of the EU shows significant bias in favour of a pro-EU, Remain stance, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has found. The BBC has an overwhelming monopoly on news consumption in the UK, with 48 percent of Brits getting their news from BBC 1 alone. Yet detailed analysis by the IEA has revealed clear examples of what researchers at the free-market think tank have termed “bias by omission” – that is, skewing public discourse on a topic by not giving air-time to one side of the debate. And they say that the BBC has shown this sort of bias in spades when it comes to debate around the EU.
Nigel Farage was at war with the BBC tonight over an alleged attempt to freeze him out of a crunch EU referendum television debate. Ukip sources say the broadcaster has decided not to include anyone from the anti-Brussels party in a live clash to be shown on BBC1 two days before the historic national vote on the country’s European future. Corporation bosses have decided that a senior Tory, almost certainly Boris Johnson or Michael Gove, will line up with another politician, probably a Labour figure, to make the case for the UK quitting the EU on the show, Ukip insiders claim. A BBC spokeswoman tonight insisted that no final decision had been made, however. Ukip today launched a formal complaint about the party’s alleged exclusion from the event.
This EU referendum was always going to be a choice between the economy and immigration. And so it proved today. Iain Duncan Smith – fresh from his ministerial resignation – fired a missile in the direction of his old boss in Downing Street. We should vote ‘Leave’, he told the audience at this speech – or risk being being poorer as a result of uncontrolled migration. As members of the EU, IDS said, the UK would have to accept a population rise of 690,000 people over the next decade.
It would not be British to quit the EU and retreat to the periphery, ex-prime minister Gordon Brown has warned. In his first major intervention in the EU referendum, he said the UK must stop being “reluctant Europeans” and shape the continent’s responses to terrorism, immigration and climate change. Claims the UK was “losing its identity” must be challenged, he told the Mirror. Leave campaigners said Mr Brown’s arguments “rang hollow” as he had a “disastrous record” while in office.
Former Home Secretary Alan Johnson has sparked anger from Brexiteers after describing them as “extremists”. Mr Johnson justified his comments by saying that it was an “extreme view that there is absolutely nothing good about the EU at all”. He made his comments as he launched the Labour pro-EU tour bus on day two of the short campaign – in what is starting to look like an increasingly nasty battle between the Remainers and Brexiteers.
Social inequality in Britain will worsen unless the country votes to quit the EU, Iain Duncan Smith has said. Last month David Cameron insisted working families are better off staying in the bloc because Brussels provides “economic security”. But Duncan Smith yesterday dismissed his claims by branding the EU a “force for social injustice” which only benefits the rich. Speaking at a Vote Leave rally, the ex-Cabinet minister blamed cheap immigrant labour for forcing struggling families out of work.
MORE than half of voters believe immigration cannot be controlled unless Britain quits the EU, a dramatic opinion poll revealed last night. In research that will boost hopes of an exit vote in next month’s EU referendum, the survey found that 55% of adults believe that the country has lost control of borders to Brussels. The Ipsos Mori poll, of more than 4,000 people, also showed that migration will be a crunch deciding issue when voters make their final decision in the in-or-out referendum on June 23. It is certain to boost the belief among “leave” campaigners that the electorate is increasingly coming round to their side as polling day approaches.
The only way of controlling immigration is to leave the EU, according to a majority of Britons – including the undecided voters who will decide the outcome of the referendum. A survey of 4,000 also found that – regardless of the result on June 23 – the public will continue to demand tougher border controls. The study, for Ipsos MORI, found undecided voters have strong views on immigration – suggesting the Leave camp could yet pick up their support by focussing on the issue.
The government has no contingency plans for Brexit despite David Cameron warning it could trigger World War 3, Downing Street has admitted. Today’s statement came just hours after the Prime Minister issued a doom-laden warning about the dangers of leaving the EU. In a key speech at the British Museum, the PM claimed: “Can we be so sure peace and stability on our continent are assured beyond any shadow of doubt? Is that a risk worth taking? “I would never be so rash to make that assumption.”
Iain Duncan Smith has claimed “Turkey is on the ballot paper” in June’s referendum and warned of the prospect of even greater uncontrolled migration when the country joins the EU. In a direct challenge to David Cameron, the former work and pensions secretary, who resigned in March over the government’s proposed disability cuts, contradicted the prime minister’s argument that Turkey was decades off joining the EU and therefore irrelevant to the debate.
Margaret Thatcher’s former economic adviser has lashed out at the Government’s attempts to “terrify” households into voting to stay in the EU. Patrick Minford, who is part of a group of economists who back Britain’s exit from the bloc, said policymakers were treating the public “like fools” as he branded the Treasury’s analysis on Brexit as “riddled with bias”.
There has been “no coherent attempt” to assess how many staff will be needed to ensure that a seven-day NHS can function, parliament’s spending watchdog has found. A report by the public accounts committee says the Department of Health (DH) has not yet worked out if the current supply of staff can adequately meet demand in the health service in England. “National bodies need to get a better grip on the supply of clinical staff in order to address current and future workforce pressures,” it concludes.
Europeans obtain treatment for free on the NHS because Britain had “not got our act together”, the Health Secretary has admitted. But Jeremy Hunt claimed that new incentives for Trusts to claw back cash from other countries has meant “significant increases” in money reclaimed. Britain paid European countries more than £670million to treat British citizens in the year to April 2015 but got back just under £50million.
The Government has made “no coherent attempt” to understand how many more doctors, nurses and other NHS staff will be needed to deliver its flagship manifesto promise of a seven-day NHS, MPs have said. In a highly critical report on NHS staffing levels, the influential Public Accounts Committee found that pressure on hospitals to save money was already leading to shortfalls on wards, and called for an urgent review of the size of the clinical workforce in England.
Thousands of elderly patients are suffering “harrowing ordeals” as they are sent home from hospital to fend for themselves, the NHS watchdog says. Those with dementia are being discharged without help so that beds can be freed, often with devastating consequences, the ombudsman says. Complaints about the problem have risen by a third in a year as the health service struggles with rising admissions and a disintegrating social care system. One 85-year-old woman with dementia was sent home alone late at night and left without food, water, bedding or the ability to go to the toilet until her family found
Britain could be banned from extraditing terror suspects by the EU, in a new Brussels power grab. One of the top legal advisers to the EU’s European Court of Justice said that – for the first time – its judges should be allowed to hear appeals from the likes of Abu Hamza if their human rights are being challenged. The move would make it far harder to boot out crime suspects – and hugely undermine the Government’s commitment to end the human rights madness.
A couple of years ago I made a (disastrous) appearance on Christmas Celebrity University Challenge. Many of the early questions were Christmas-related, but then came one that fell right into my lap: ‘in 1985, which became the first country ever to leave the European Union?’ I knew that. Of course I did. I was supposed to be Europe Editor of ITV News. I pushed vigorously on the buzzer, only to the see that – to my horror – a little white panel saying ‘LITTLE’ was already alight. “Greenland” said Alan Little of the BBC and Edinburgh University. “Yes, well done,” said Jeremy Paxman. For once he looked genuinely impressed. Talk about missing a chance at glory.
The EU is poised to ban high-powered appliances such as kettles, toasters, hair-dryers within months of Britain’s referendum vote, despite senior officials admitting the plan has brought them “ridicule”. The European Commission plans to unveil long-delayed ‘ecodesign’ restrictions on small household appliances in the autumn. They are expected to ban the most energy-inefficient devices from sale in order to cut carbon emissions.
So was it a gaffe or was it deliberate? Did David Cameron blunder by blurting out that Nigeria and Afghanistan were corrupt? Or did he mean to kick-start his anti-corruption summit, taking place in London later this week, with some useful pre-summit publicity? And another conspiracy theory in Westminster is that he wanted to move the news agenda away from the EU referendum, after Iain Duncan Smith accused him of being Angela Merkel’s puppet.