BBC accused of ‘increasing support for Scottish independence’ as coverage attacked

Nicola Sturgeon says she is ‘cautiously optimistic’ about progress

Lord Hugh Trenchard claimed the Corporation had reduced the exposure of UK Government ministers across both TV and radio in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Speaking in the House of Lords, the Tory peer urged the incoming Chairman and Director General of the BBC, Tim Davie, to make urgent changes to scheduling.


Lord Trenchard, said: “This strengthens the perception of separateness and has contributed to a diminution of a feeling of Britishness and an increase in support for independence.

“In all parts of the United Kingdom, much more airtime should be given to UK ministers.”

The peer also claimed the current balance between the four nations was “harmful” and should be addressed.

Responding, Cabinet Office Minister Lord True, said: “Certainly some people have found aspects of the coverage confusing and indeed perhaps not as optimistic in certain circumstances.”


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The peers’ comments come as Corporation bosses in Scotland announced the launch of a new Sunday politics debate show known as The Sunday Show.

The two-hour multi-platform programme fronted by Scottish political journalists Martin Geissler and Fiona Stalker will include interviews, news and analysis.

Gary Smith, Head of News and Current Affairs at BBC Scotland, said: “We already have a strong track record of breaking stories on Sunday mornings which set the agenda for the rest of the weekend and for the start of the week.”

It comes as the SNP complained to the BBC claiming their politicians were not appearing enough during Nicola Sturgeon’s COVID-19 briefings.

SNP depute leader Keith Brown claimed in a letter that opposition parties including the Scottish Conservatives received more coverage.

In the letter, the MSP said he was “deeply concerned” after the BBC changed the name of the programme and format which broadcasts the First Minister’s briefings several times a week.

The name was changed from “Coronavirus Update” to “BBC Scotland News Special” in October after Holyrood opposition parties said more changes were needed.

Scottish Secretary Alister Jack, however, said the First Minister should step down from leading the briefings and be replaced by a medical or science expert.

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Mr Jack also urged BBC Scotland to review the First Minister’s daily appearances and branded them as the “Nicola Sturgeon Show”.

The BBC has been approached for comment.

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