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BBC backlash: Beeb accused of bias as viewers blast Newsnight host for 'supporting EU'


The latest barrage of accusations come after Boris Johnson’s disputed Internal Market Bill was backed by MPs with a majority of 77 votes. MPs are praising the bill because it aims to protect the status quo within and between the UK and Northern Ireland after Brexit. Others are critical of it, since it would grant government the power to rewrite parts of the EU withdrawal bill which has already been agreed.

Shortly after the Commons vote last night, BBC Newsnight hosted EU Parliament Vice President Katarine Barley, who blasted the bill.

The show also included Tory Peer Lord Lilley, who said the bill was a good thing and denied it broke international law.

During the interview with Lord Lilley, Ms Maitlis regarded his defence of the bill as “specious”.

She also referenced former Conservative party leader Michael Howard and Geoffrey Cox, former attorney general to Boris Johnson, who both attacked the bill.

She added: “These arguments are quite specious when you’ve heard your own party – a minister – say it does break international law.”

READ MORE: Boris Johnson hits back at EU for ‘extreme and unreasonable’ threats to UK

Many viewers took to social media to suggest Ms Maitlis, who hosted the debate, was not impartial enough in her questioning.

One user said on Twitter: “Another disgustingly partisan display from Emily here, does the BBC have any awareness of how this blatant bias is perceived by the public?”

Another wrote: “We know ‘blatantly’ that Maitlis is not fit for purpose to impartially host these discussions.”

Others thought the Newsnight host did not question Mr Lilley harshly enough.

One said: “Anyone can make statements, but those with integrity and cite sources.

“BBC Newsnight and Maitlis, you should wipe the floor with such folk.”

Another said: “Why does the BBC select people such as Peter Lilley to interview when they must know what poor value they are?”

Another added, in an attack on Lord Lilley and Ms Maitlis: “He lied and lied about the WA, and at no point were his basic factual errors corrected.”

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Ms Maitlis came under fire earlier this year for a monologue on Dominic Cummings which smashed the BBC’s impartiality guidelines.

The BBC saw 247 Ofcom complaints over the Newsnight monologue, and the broadcaster is believed to have reported a massive 18,158 complaints within one day of the show.

Ms Maitlis said in her opening remarks for Newsnight: “Dominic Cummings broke the rules – the country can see that and it’s shocked the Government cannot.”

The BBC admitted Ms Maitlis broke impartiality guidelines, and added in a statement: “We’ve reviewed the entirety of last night’s Newsnight, including the opening section, and while we believe the programme contained fair, reasonable and rigorous journalism, we feel that we should have done more to make clear the introduction was a summary of the questions we would examine, with all the accompanying evidence, in the rest of the programme.”


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