BBC slammed by MP as broadcaster accused of ‘one-sided attack’

Liam Fox MP says BBC report is ‘one-sided attack’

Liam Fox has accused the BBC of a “one-sided attack” on disgraced MP Peter Bone following the publication of a story with his alleged victim.

Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle is seeking advice amid contempt of Parliament concerns over a BBC interview with the alleged complainant of Mr Bone, the Commons heard today.

Conservative former cabinet minister Mr Fox, raising a point of order with Deputy Speaker Sir Roger Gale, highlighted the story and said: “This is not in any way to judge the rights or wrongs of this but merely the principles of natural justice first, from an anonymous briefing, against a named Member of Parliament, on a day that the BBC accepted MPs would be voting upon it.

“What I would like to know from you is whether this is an undue attempt to influence Members of Parliament on the day of a vote which should be our business in this House, and indeed whether it’s an attempt to manipulate Members of Parliament.”

READ MORE: Rishi Sunak to face sixth nightmare by-election as MPs set to suspend Peter Bone

Parliament’s Independent Expert Panel (IEP) said Mr Bone, Wellingborough MP, “committed many varied acts of bullying and one act of sexual misconduct” against a member of his staff in 2012 and 2013.

The recommended six-week suspension, if approved by MPs, could lead to Mr Bone – who has had the Tory whip removed – facing a recall petition that would pave the way for another possible by-election.

Mr Fox said: “This doesn’t just relate to this case, this relates to any case that we may have to consider in the future and I would like to ask you to ask Mr Speaker – who has always defended the rights of this House – whether he will take legal advice on whether this particular report today constitutes a contempt for the House?”

Speaking to BBC News, the alleged complainant – who remains anonymous – spoke about the alleged “physical, emotional, psychological abuse” he had endured.

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A spokeswoman for Sir Lindsay said the Commons speaker is seeking procedural advice rather than legal advice.

Deputy speaker Roger Gale had told MPs that “legal advice is being sought” by Hoyle on the matter.

The Speaker’s spokeswoman said Hoyle should have said “procedural advice” and Hansard will be corrected to reflect this

The former aide also criticised the handling of his complaint by the Conservatives, claiming he was “effectively ghosted” by the party.

Mr Bone has said the allegations are “false and untrue” and “without foundation” and has vowed to continue representing his constituents.

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