BBC's political editor Nick Robinson backs out of arms-trade dinner role following formal complaints from campaigners
£235-a-head Mayfair dinner will be attended by the bosses of global arms manufacturing companies
James Cusick is political correspondent of The Independent and The Independent on Sunday. As an experienced member of the lobby, he has previously worked at The Sunday Times and the BBC. His career as a journalist has been split between print and television, including senior positions as producer with Sir David Frost and at BBC Newsnight. He is also an award-winning golf and travel writer, working for over a decade as the UK contributing editor for one of the USA’s leading golf magazines. He broadcasts regularly for the BBC and CNN. He lives in London.
Friday 24 January 2014
Nick Robinson, the BBC’s political editor, has withdrawn as star speaker at a dinner for Britain’s defence industry after complaints from anti-arms trade campaigners.
The £235-a-head Mayfair dinner, scheduled for next week, will be attended by the bosses of global arms manufacturing companies, government ministers, Downing Street defence advisers and high-ranking officers from the UK military.
Mr Robinson’s appearance at the ADS annual dinner had been the subject of a formal complaint to the BBC by a leading anti-arms trade pressure group. The Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) wrote to the BBC this week stating that it believed the appearance would compromise the corporation’s impartiality and Mr Robinson’s “reputation for objectivity when reporting developments in the arms industry”.
The corporation said it “did not accept” the accusation that Mr Robinson’s appearance would compromise his or the BBC’s reputation for impartiality.
However, it added that because of a “change of plan”, Mr Robinson “will be reporting on the television news on the evening in question and will therefore not be attending the dinner”. The volte-face comes despite publicity prominently featuring the journalist as the event’s star speaker.
CAAT responded: “While we are pleased that Nick Robinson has pulled out, we are disappointed that the BBC does not recognise the obvious conflict between their reputation and values and those of the arms trade.”
In 2012, Frank Gardner, the BBC’s widely respected security correspondent, pulled out of a speaking engagement at the Counter Terrorism Expo Awards. Last March his fellow security correspondent, Gordon Corera, was criticised for taking part in a counter-terrorism trade event.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
- 2 Scottish independence live: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum - as it happened
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Friends 20th anniversary: Six things we wouldn't have without influential comedy series
- 5 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Scottish independence referendum results: David Cameron pledges plans for 'English votes for English laws' by January
Scottish independence live: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum - as it happened
Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...
£27000 - £31000 Per Annum Excellent Benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...
£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently ...
Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is urgently s...