Journalists are rounding on the BBC over its Vote Leave ‘election fraud’ coverage

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Emily Apple

In the late evening on 3 July, the BBC broke this story:

Vote Leave broke electoral law, Electoral Commission expected to say

LBC host James O’Brien criticised the way the story was covered:

And he wasn’t the only journalist to raise issue with the BBC‘s coverage.

The report

The draft report hasn’t been published by the Electoral Commission. But details of its contents were leaked to the press by Vote Leave. The Electoral Commission described the decision as “unusual”:

According to Vote Leave, the Electoral Commission is accusing it of four breaches of the law:

  • Breaking the £7m spending limit.
  • Inaccurately reporting its return on election expenditure.
  • Missing invoices and receipts.
  • Failing to comply with a statutory notice.

But Matthew Elliott, the former chief executive of Vote Leave, strongly denies the allegations. He has submitted a 500-page report to the Electoral Commission challenging the accusations.

Enter the BBC

But it’s the BBC‘s coverage of the leak that’s drawn criticism from journalists.

Channel 4‘s Krishnan Guru-Murthy asked:

Other journalists were also unimpressed:

Not just journalists

It wasn’t just journalists who had a problem with the BBC‘s coverage, though. Whistleblower Shahmir Sanni tweeted:

Another whistleblower, Christopher Wylie, also raised issues, suggesting the BBC had been manipulated:

Meanwhile, barrister Jo Maugham wrote:

‘Don’t believe the spin’

Award-winning journalist Carole Cadwalladr, who has doggedly pursued the story, argued that it’s important not to believe the spin:

Although Guru-Murthy suggested the BBC had a scoop that it was inevitably going to publish:

The BBC‘s live political programmes editor responded to the accusations:

And head of BBC Westminster insisted that the BBC is impartial:

But with so many leading journalists calling out the BBC‘s coverage, the broadcaster still has serious questions to answer.

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