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12 June 2012updated 05 Oct 2023 8:54am

No, the BBC didn’t give Nigel Farage the top spot after his party lost Peterborough

By Media Mole

The morning after the most momentous vote of our generation, the Peterborough by-election, Twitter users began complaining about the BBC’s coverage of the result.

Apparently, rather than giving the winners – the Labour Party – prominence, Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, which came second, was given the “top spot” on the BBC’s flagship political radio show, the Today programme.

“Labour win in Peterborough!” tweeted the prolific pro-EU commentator and co-founder of Scientists for EU and Healthier IN, Mike Galsworthy.  “Who is @BBCr4today interviewing right now? The winner? No… they have Nigel Farage on. This is *the* top radio spot. I’ve had enough of the BBC. They promote him when he wins. They promote him when he loses.”

He went on to accuse the BBC of using its TV “prime political slot” of BBC Breakfast to interview Farage too:

Altogether that’s over 6,800 retweets and nearly 17,000 likes.

But it’s not quite right. Actually, the Labour Party was given Today’s biggest political interview slot, known as “the 8.10” (at peak breakfast radio listening time), with shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald doing an impressive job of pouring water on John Humphrys’ Brexit-themed harrumphing.

And the Today programme opened with a package presenting a pen portrait of how each party fared in Peterborough, with soundbites from their representatives, then interviewed the Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis at the first prominent slot just before 8am. Farage, in contrast, was on at 7.10am – when there are fewer listeners on average.

Also, while you might not like Farage, he’s the leader of a party that came an impressive second in a by-election that saw the governing party pushed to an abysmal third. It’s in the public interest to question his motivations, and hardly an eccentric interview choice for BBC Breakfast and the Today programme this morning.

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