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Former BBC Trust Chairman Sir Michael Lyons Says Broadcaster Is Biased Against Jeremy Corbyn

'I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that the BBC has sought to hedge its bets of late'.

12/05/2016 15:45

One of the BBC's most senior former leaders has accused the corporation of being biased against Jeremy Corbyn, saying its journalists had launched "some quite extraordinary attacks" on the Labour leader. 

Sir Michael Lyons, who chaired the BBC's governing body from 2007 to 2011, claimed "senior editorial voices" had broken the broadcaster's duty to issue politically impartial news. 

He told Radio 4's World At One programme: "I don’t think I’m alone in feeling that the BBC has sought to hedge its bets of late.

Ex-BBC Chief Just Accused Its Journalists Of 'Extraordinary' Anti-Corbyn Bias

Stefan Rousseau/PA Archive
Former trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons delivered an 'extraordinary' attack on the BBC on Thursday

"There have been some quite extraordinary attacks on the elected leader of the Labour party.

"I mean quite extraordinary - I can understand why people are worried about some of the most senior editorial voices having lost their impartiality on this."

Pulled up by presenter Martha Kearney on the "extraordinary allegation", Sir Michael said he was simply "voicing ... the anxieties which have been expressed publicly by others".

The allegation was rubbished minutes later by current BBC Director-General Tony Hall, who rebutted that it was an "extraordinary" claim and the public trusted the BBC to deliver impartial news. 

PA/PA Archive
Tony Hall has rubbished the allegations from Michael Lyons

"That is an extraordinary claim to make that our journalists and our journalism would in any way not treat impartially all sides of the arguments during a review of the charter.

"That’s not the journalists I know or the journalists in this organisation."

He continued, saying: "We test all sides. The journalists in the BBC do a really hard job in the midst of controversy to bring a sort of light and calm judgement to what’s really going on."

The controversial claims came after John Whittingdale published his White Paper into the future of the BBC

He praised the corporation for being "the finest broadcaster in the world", but announced a raft of changes to its output, funding and regulation.

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