Many of the MPs who signed the letter issued this week criticising the BBC’s Brexit coverage as biased to the Remain campaign are part of a small but influential network of hardline Euro-climate sceptics.
An analysis of the 70 signatories of the complaint letter urging the BBC to “accept new facts” on Brexit shows 12 are part of the 55 Tufton Street climate denier network. A further six MPs have consistently voted against climate measures in Parliament.
This includes Conservatives Owen Paterson and Steve Baker along with Labour’s Graham Stringer and UKIP’s Douglas Carswell. These four are linked to the Tufton Street network through either their membership to the Vote Leave campaign or association with Lord Lawson’s climate denying Global Warming Policy Foundation.
Of these 18 individuals, 10 were also among 15 MPs that issued the anti-fifth carbon budget letter released last May which argued setting “radical” climate targets wouldn’t reduce Europe’s emissions because others in the EU would just do less.
Others who signed the letter that are affiliated with the 55 Tufton Street address include the following Vote Leave members: Conservative MP Ian Duncan Smith, Theresa Villiers, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Bernard Jenkin and Northern Ireland DUP MP Nigel Dodds. Conservative MPs Sir Gerald Howarth, Sir William Cash, and Graham Brady are also tied to the close-knit network.
Do not adjust your set. Normal service from the BBC means you will hear people you disagree with say things you don't like. (That's our job) pic.twitter.com/UyOzeEp3eV— Nick Robinson (@bbcnickrobinson) March 21, 2017
Within this group of hardline Euro-climate sceptics are also Conservative MPs, David Nuttall, Andrew Bridgen, David Davies, Richard Drax, John Redwood and Sammy Wilson – these men have voted consistently against measures to prevent climate change and have previously rallied against the BBC’s coverage of the topic.
In 2015 for example, Bridgen wrote in the Telegraph on why he was “going to war” with the BBC. Top among his reasons was the BBC’s coverage of climate change and immigration.
And Davies last September led a Westminster Hall debate where he said of the BBC: “I have been in many BBC studios and canteens and I’ve yet to see anyone sitting there reading a copy of the Daily Express or the Daily Mail, loudly complaining about immigration, Brussels, or suggesting that climates about climate change are somewhat over-egged.”
Meanwhile Redwood has written on his blog about how the BBC “peddles climate change alarmism” and Wilson has been known to censor TV adverts supporting the science on climate.
The BBC’s director general Tony Hall responded this week to the letter saying that “Impartiality has always been the cornerstone of BBC News. It remains so today.”
Photo: Stuart Pinfold via Flickr | CC 2.0