The BBC barely breathed a word on Tory election fraud. It took them 39 minutes to go after Momentum.

BBC Momentum
Support us and go ad-free

The BBC was notably slow to pick up news that the Conservative Party was under investigation for electoral fraud. But as news of an investigation into left-wing campaigners Momentum came in, it responded quite differently.

The tortoise and the hare

The Tory election expenses scandal was the biggest political scandal to hit the UK in recent memory. At its heart was the potential that the Conservative Party won not one but two general elections, in part through electoral fraud.

The Canary was the first UK media organisation to make contact with whistleblowers exposing the call centres used to whip votes for the Conservatives. But unlike the MPs’ expenses scandal, much of the mainstream media wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole. Press action on the scandal was left almost entirely to Channel 4 News and independent media. The Mirror placed one journalist on the case, The Guardian regurgitated the findings of others on an infrequent basis, and the BBC barely mentioned it:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Then, on Thursday 7 December, the Electoral Commission announced it was investigating the campaign finances of Momentum.


By contrast, reporting on the Momentum investigation was widespread and forthright. It took the BBC just 39 minutes to report on the investigation.

And other news organisations were reporting it even before the Electoral Commission’s announcement.

The widespread eagerness to report the news is strange, given that Momentum is a campaign group rather than a political party. Labour also lost the 2017 general election, whereas the Conservatives won while electoral fraud was allegedly taking place. In addition, Momentum was already investigated by the Electoral Commission, and no impropriety was discovered that time.


This has left progressives wondering: why is the media taking this investigation so seriously, when it ignored the scandal of the century?

Momentum builds

Momentum responded positively to the investigation, telling The Huffington Post:

Momentum put a lot of effort and resources into detailed budgeting and financial procedures during the election to ensure full compliance.

Our election campaign was delivered on a low budget because it tapped into the energy and enthusiasm of tens of thousands of volunteers across the country.

Much of the Electoral Commission investigation refers to administrative errors that can be easily rectified. We have a good working relationship with the Electoral Commission, and will fully comply with the investigation going forward.

It’s positive that the Electoral Commission investigates the propriety of political parties and campaign groups. That’s why it exists. And we expect commercial media to shout louder about alleged mis-deeds on the left than the right due to their conservative bias. This is why the coverage by our publicly-funded broadcaster must be conducted with rigour and impartiality. But in this task, the BBC has failed miserably.

Get Involved!

– Support the work of Media Lens in holding media to account.

– Use fact-checking sites like Snopes and Politifact to distinguish accurate from misleading news.

– Read more from The Canary about the Election Expenses Scandal here.

Featured image via BBC/Wikimedia Commons/Wikipedia

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us

Comments are closed