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BBC Question Time Panellist Chris Bryant Slams Daily Mail And The Sun For EU 'Lies'

'I think it's time that we had some proper facts out there.'

08/04/2016 09:08 | Updated 08 April 2016

The Government's decision to use £9million of taxpayers' money to send pro-EU leaflets to UK homes is justified because of the "fibs and lies" pumped out daily by newspapers such as the Daily Mail and The Sun, Labour's Chris Bryant said.

Speaking on Question Time on Thursday, Bryant defended the Government's controversial move to distribute leaflets detailing the reasons why the people should vote to remain in the EU.

The 54-year-old MP for Rhondda said that it was "time we had some proper facts out there", adding that the owners of the newspapers backing Brexit were not even UK residents paying tax.

BBC

His comments angered fellow panellist, Ukip's Douglas Carswell, who argued that newspapers reflect the views of readers.

Bryant said: "I know that Douglas is very, very worried that there is not going to be an even playing field, but frankly with The Sun, The Telegraph, The Times and The Mail daily pumping out fibs and lies about the European Union, I think it's time that we had some proper facts out there.

"And I would merely point out that the owners of those newspapers are not resident in the UK paying tax."

When he was challenged by economist Ruth Lea as to whether he was sure about his claim, he listed a number of newspaper owners and where they lived.

He said that Rupert Murdoch lives in America "because he is only allowed to own a newspaper if he is an American citizen".

Carswell said: "Surely the fact that newspapers have those views reflects what the readers think and want."

Bryant came back at Carswell, saying: "Douglas you know perfectly well it reflects the owners, the proprieter's views, not the views of the British people."

Many people agreed with Bryant, adding that Carswell was "fundamentally wrong".

Whereas others felt that Carswell made a good point and that Bryant was trying to "justify" using the distribution of the leaflets:

The leaflet drop will cost about £9.3 million and will be delivered to every household in the UK outlining the “facts” justifying staying in the European Union.

The massive postal drop, to start next week and reach 27 million houses, will detail the case David Cameron is to make ahead of the June 23 referendum.

Campaigners for “Brexit” said it was “outrageous” the Government was allowed to use the machinery for “pro-EU propaganda”, calling the move “immoral, undemocratic”.

In the last referendum on Europe in 1975, the Government-produced leaflet backing Britain’s membership of the bloc was seen as decisive.

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