- Ex-Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers has written to Beeb boss Lord Hall to demand new editorial guidance
Former Tory Ministers have accused the BBC of bias for referring to a No Deal Brexit as a “cliff edge” option.
Theresa Villiers, the ex-Northern Ireland Secretary, has written to Lord Hall, backed by other Tory MPs, to demand new editorial guidance is issued to express a “neutral view” on leaving the EU without a trade deal.
She said it was wrong to express leaving on World Trade Organisation terms as either a “cliff edge” or “crashing out”.
In the letter she says: “These terms are used routinely and frequently by presenters and journalists as part of the BBC’s news and political coverage of Brexit.
“We would request that you advise your reporters and presenters to use language which is less partisan, for example by referring to the UK ‘leaving without a withdrawal agreement’ or ‘leaving on WTO terms’.”
Critics claim No Deal could have catastrophic repurcussions for the UK – given the possible disruption to trade, travel and the availability of a whole variety of products that come from the EU every day.
Supporters argue that recent moves by EU member states such as France to prepare for a No Deal show the risks can be mitigated.
The blast is backed by former Tory Brexit Minister David Jones and other arch Brexiteers such as Sir Bill Cash and the DUP’s Sammy Wilson.
But Boris Johnson’s close ally Conor Burns MP and former Tory vice chair Ben Bradley are among those to have signed it.
The move comes almost a year since more than 70 arch Eurosceptic MPs slammed the BBC for being “too pessimistic” about Britain’s prospects outside the EU.
At the time, some 80 pro-EU MP urged the state broadcaster to stand firm against bias allegations and “resist attempts at political interference”.
Lord Hall last year insisted impartiality had always been the “cornerstone of BBC News”.
A BBC spokesman last night said: “We’ve received this letter and will respond in due course. BBC News is committed to reporting Brexit impartially and accurately.”