BBC under fire for having GB News presenter Michelle Dewberry on Question Time

Michelle Dewberry appears on debate before Andrew Neil’s news channel has launched

Adam Forrest@adamtomforrest
Friday 14 May 2021 10:50
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Michelle Dewberry clashes with Lisa Nandy on Question Time
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The BBC has been criticised for featuring a GB News presenter on Question Time before the news network has even launched.

The former Brexit Party candidate and Apprentice winner Michelle Dewberry appeared on the public broadcaster’s flagship political programme on Thursday night.

Many on social media questioned why the BBC was “platforming” GB News before it was even on air, while others questioned why Ms Dewberry appeared rather than a Lib Dem or Green Party figure.

The author and journalist Michael Crick said: “I wonder what Ofcom will make of Michelle Dewberry, a new GB News presenter, speaking on BBC Question Time as if she was still a Brexit Party candidate.”

Ms Dewberry clashed with Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy over Brexit and Labour’s recent local election defeats on last night’s programme.

Ms Nandy said: “Let me say this to you Michelle as well, I’ve been elected four times in the last decade by working class people in Wigan. How many times have you been elected?”

The GB News presenter responded: “I have not been elected once but I tell you what if it wasn’t for people like me, the Brexit party at the last election, there would have been way fewer Labour MPs than there are now and this is one of the problems.”

The former reality TV star also claimed: “[Labour] see a lot of Brexiteers as racist xenophobic idiots,” which Ms Nandy rejected as “absolutely not true”.

Ms Dewberry, the unsuccessful candidate for Nigel Farage’s party in Hull in 2019, is set to appear five nights a week on a primetime GB News programme.

GB News chiefs have warned against “false imagining” of the channel as a British version of the opinion-led, right-wing US network Fox News.

However, a series of recent appointments suggest right-wing political voices will feature heavily at the soon-to-launch outlet, chaired by former BBC presenter Andrew Neil.

Tom Harwood, senior reporter at the Guido Fawkes website, has joined the political team. Dan Wootton, Talk Radio presenter and former executive editor at The Sun, will be one of GB News’ on-air presenters.

And Alex Phillips, a former Brexit Party MEP who is also a contributor to The Telegraph, will co-host a weekday programme on GB News.

In February Mr Neil attacked a left-wing social media campaign, using the hashtag #DontFundGBNews, which targeted potential GB News advertisers and asked them not to partner with the channel.

“The woke warriors trying to stir up an advertising boycott of GB News, a channel that hasn’t even started broadcasting, are hilarious,” the former BBC interviewer tweeted.

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