After the last appearance by mercenary hack Isabel Oakeshott on BBC Question Time, where she joined the pile-on, wrongly castigating Diane Abbott over her recollection of opinion poll leads, it might have been thought that host Fiona Bruce would have done her homework and be more alert to the Brexit booster’s tendency to dishonesty. But yesterday evening, back came Ms Oakeshott, and back came the unchallenged lies.
Would the upcoming General Election do anything to “sort out Brexit”? One audience member was sceptical, telling “We’re talking about whether we think a General Election can solve Brexit. I think actually we’ve forgotten that Vote Leave is accused of breaking electoral law. Dominic Cummings, who is currently an advisor to Boris Johnson, is currently in such a position of power, yet he refuses to stand before Parliament and talk about breaking electoral law. He’s in contempt of Parliament”. And there was more.
“I’m not sure that we can ever have a free and democratic and fair election before those issues are sorted out. I’m not sure we can solve Brexit in this way”. At this point, Ms Bruce demonstrated that she had not done her research. Badly.
Fiona Bruce - messed up again
“I think when it comes to the Leave EU campaign, as far as I am aware they were cleared of a number of things actually, so I’m not entirely sure that you’re right about that”. Christ on a bike, the audience member said Vote Leave, NOT Leave EU. And she was right. But this lapse was all the right-wingers on the panel needed to pile in.
After Paul Scully, the charisma-free Tory MP who is reputed to be the party’s deputy chairman, had suggested everyone should “look over there” at the Remain campaign, off went Isabel Oakeshott. Had criminal charges been brought? “Absolutely not”. Er, not yet.
And away she went. “The vast majority of allegations about both the Leave campaigns were proved to be completely unfounded. This is propaganda, and the Electoral Commission, which is highly biased, refused to investigate the other side to the extent …”. At long last, Ms Bruce brought that one to a close. But the damage was done.
As Jessica Simor has pointed out, “1.Cummings worked for Vote Leave not Leave EU. 2. Both were found to have committed electoral offences, given max fines & referred to police. 3. No charges are being brought vs Leave EU. VL investigation by Met continues”. Lorna Cooper was quite sure who was right: “This young lady on #BBCQT CORRECTLY said: ‘Vote Leave is accused of breaking electoral law.’”
As for Ms Oakeshott’s claims, most of the allegations were not proved to be unfounded, it therefore is not propaganda, there is no evidence of Electoral Commission bias except in her mind, and it investigated where there was evidence to suggest wrongdoing. Also, she failed to address the point made about Dominic Cummings.
Yes, Fiona Bruce bears some responsibility for the mess because she mixed up Vote Leave and Leave EU. More importantly, she also bears responsibility for allowing Isabel Oakeshott to once more get away with blatant and premeditated lying.
The BBC has so far done nothing to sort out Question Time. Perhaps they just don’t care.
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