BBC Chairman Lord Patten has refused to give evidence to the Commons European Scrutiny Committee about the BBC’s coverage of EU affairs.
His refusal follows an earlier Scrutiny Committee hearing in which Newswatch gave evidence that the BBC was failing in its Charter duty to report EU affairs to an extent that allowed audiences to understand properly the issues involved.
Scrutiny Committee chairman Bill Cash followed up by asking Lord Patten to appear before his members to explain why the BBC was apparently under-reporting such a vital area of public policy. Conservative MP Philip Hollobone, in a question to Bill Cash on the floor of the House said:
“The British public not only expect us to scrutinise EU legislation in this place but want to see us doing it. Does my hon. Friend find it extraordinary that the chairman of the BBC Trust should refuse to appear before his Committee? Does that not send a very bad signal to all the other Select Committees of this House, and what can we, as the House of Commons, do about it?”
Mr Cash replied:
“This is all covered in the report—we make extensive reference to it and include the correspondence that was exchanged between the chairman of the BBC Trust and me, as Chairman of the Committee. I think that most people would conclude that his not appearing voluntarily before the Committee to give evidence was really quite disgraceful.”
Newswatch primary evidence to the European Scrutiny Committee is here:
And the supplemental evidence is here:
The report of the European Scrutiny Committee containing reference to Lord Patten’s refusal to appear before
it is here:
The debate about the European Scrutiny committee containing Philip Hollobone’s question is here: