Backlash over Labour peer's demand for BBC to sack Andrew Neil

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A leading Remain campaigner today rounded on Labour peer Lord Adonis for demanding the BBC sack star interviewer Andrew Neil.

Work and Pensions minister Guy Opperman said the peer was wrong to accuse the broadcaster of bias in favour of Brexit. “The person that politicians used to fear most was [Jeremy] Paxman but now it is Andrew Neil, and rightly so,” he said.

Mr Opperman, who led the Remain campaign in the north of England, said it was wrong for politicians to attack individual journalists. 

He told the Standard: “The moment you start attacking journalists for being purportedly biased, you are effectively attacking the democratic process and the free press.”

Lord Adonis tweeted that he would be writing to the BBC director-general Lord Hall to allege “systematic pro-Brexit bias” and to object to him carrying out interviews. Tory MP Julian Knight tweeted back: “Adonis entitled to say that he’s unhappy with BBC reporting if he wants but it’s chilling when politician attacks an individual journalist.”

FT editor Lionel Barber said: “I vote Andrew Neil to remain — one of the very best interviewers we have in Brexit Britain.”


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