Huw Edwards: BBC news reader ‘ordered’ to take down Welsh flag tweet

News reader has wrist slapped after tongue-in-cheek post referencing flag controversy

Tim Wyatt
Saturday 20 March 2021 13:23 GMT
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Hue Edwards, a famously proud Welshman, was made to delete a Welsh flag tweet by his BBC bosses
Hue Edwards, a famously proud Welshman, was made to delete a Welsh flag tweet by his BBC bosses

Huw Edwards has said he was made to remove a tweet of the Welsh flag which poked fun at a row over the Union Jack by BBC bosses.

On Friday, the news reader had posted a picture on Twitter of his face superimposed onto the famous Welsh dragon flag and written “Flags are now mandatory – very pleased with my new backdrop for @BBCNews at Ten”.

The post was a reference to a controversy the previous day over an interview with the housing minister Robert Jenrick on BBC Breakfast, at the end of which presenters Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty had joked a sizeable British flag standing behind the minister was not quite large enough.

However, just as with the social media row which followed the presenters’ remarks, Edwards said his own light-hearted contribution was also quickly stamped out by his bosses at the corporation.

Shortly after he had posted his Welsh flag tweet, Mr Edwards deleted it and sent another which said: “Gutted. My pro-flag tweet has been cut down in its prime. By order. But it will be back tomorrow— by popular demand. Meanwhile enjoy this magnificent flag — one of my favourites. #SixNationsRugby #FRAvWAL”

The image attached to the tweet – which was itself littered with Welsh flag emojis – was of a white flag with the BBC’s own logo emblazoned across it.

Read more:

 BBC journalists question new tougher social-media guidelines that ban them from ‘virtue signalling’

Tim Davie: BBC needs ‘radical shift’ and staff must be impartial on social media says new director-general

BBC’s Naga Munchetty apologises for liking ‘offensive’ tweets about minister’s union flag backdrop

The BBC’s new director general Tim Davie has been trying to curb his staff’s social media excesses ever since taking over at the broadcaster last year.

In October, strict new guidelines were brought in which forbade staff from posting “controversial” opinions online or engaging in “virtue signalling”.

Ironically, one of the many senior BBC figures to mock the new rules was Edwards, who tweeted: “The BBC's new social media guidance says that the "use of emojis can — accidentally, or deliberately — undercut an otherwise impartial post” while surrounding the text with dozens of Welsh flag emojis.

Several Conservative MPs were so angered by what they perceived as disrespect from Stayt and Munchetty towards Mr Jenrick’s flag that they wrote to Mr Davie to remind him “the B in BBC stands for British and that the comments and attitudes on display towards both our flag and our Queen were inappropriate and also disrespectful”.

After the row blew up online Munchetty liked a tweet which said: “What has Charlie done? The flag shaggers will be up in arms. Tell him we love him.”

She was also forced to remove the like and issue a public apology reiterating the “offensive” tweets she liked did not represent either her views or those of the BBC.

A spokesperson for the BBC declined to comment.

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