BBC changes policy over Labour candidate

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The Independent Online
The BBC sought to quell accusations of left-wing bias on the eve of the general election by conceding last night that it was wrong to grant paid leave to Ben Bradshaw, a high-profile Radio 4 presenter who is fighting a key marginal seat for the Labour Party.

To reinforce its commitment to political impartiality, the corporation also made it clear that Joy Johnson, a former Labour Party communications director, hired recently on a short-term contract ,would have no involvement in editorial matters or programme-making during the election campaign.

Tony Hall, chief executive of BBC News, said that the position of Mr Bradshaw, who has not worked since being selected as Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Exeter, had been reviewed. He is now to be found some non-politically sensitive work until the election is called and will not be paid when he takes leave during the campaign.

"The fact that we were unable to find him sufficient, suitable non-editorial work was a failure of management and I regret that," said Mr Hall, adding: "I believe we should have dealt with this issue with a greater sense of urgency." He explained that Mr Bradshaw had been removed from any involvement in editorial work in order to protect programmes from any suspicion of partiality. Rob Brown