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Nick Robinson, the BBC’s political editor, has withdrawn as star speaker at a dinner for Britain’s defence industry after complaints from anti-arms trade campaigners.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.
- 1 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 2 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 4 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
MH17 crash: Investigators discover more human remains and 'huge section of plane'
Susan Sarandon on David Bowie romance: 'He's worth idolising'
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Exclusive: Cameron’s Big Society in tatters as charity watchdog launches investigation into claims of Government funding misuse
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss
£600 - £650 per day: Orgtel: Conduct Risk Liaison Manager - Banking - London -...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - COMMERCIAL LITIGATION - GLOBAL...
£65000 - £75000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: The client is a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established software house ba...