Scrapbook notes this characteristically loaded question from Lord Ashcroft with interest:
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made representations to the BBC regarding the neutrality of its news coverage.[HL93]
Lord Gardiner of Kimble: There have been no representations or recent discussions with the BBC concerning the neutrality of its news output.
The BBC is required to deliver duly impartial news by the Royal Charter and Agreement, and the BBC Trust is committed to making sure that the BBC fulfils this obligation. One of the ways the trust does this is through a rolling programme of impartiality reviews looking at different aspects of the BBC’s output. The trust is currently carrying out an impartiality review, looking at the BBC’s breadth of opinion, which is set to be published in July.
Why would the government need to “make representations” when they can attempt to intimidate BBC staff through back channels or, indeed, face-to-face on Downing Street:
It was ever thus.