Tories say they support ban on satire about Parliament footage

Leader of the House of Commons Chris Grayling said satire about the House of Commons would not be 'appropriate'

Jon Stone
Thursday 03 March 2016 14:10 GMT
The House of Commons is literally beyond satire
The House of Commons is literally beyond satire

Satirising footage of Parliament should stay banned, the Conservative leader of the House of Commons has said.

Chris Grayling told MPs that it would not be “appropriate” for jokes to be made with reference to video of the House of Commons – which is currently highly restricted.

Since regular broadcasting from Parliament began in 1989 footage has only been provided to broadcasters on the condition that it is not used in satirical programmes.

The Leader of the House was asked about the rule change by Ealing Labour MP Rupa Huq, sister of former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq.

Konnie Huq is married to broadcaster and comedian Charlie Brooker – who has previously campaigned on the issue, but also lives in Ms Huq’s constituency.

“Could we have a statement on the uses of broadcast footage of the House of Commons?” she asked Mr Grayling

“My constituent Charlie Brooker has raised with me that he … is unable to use it in his programme, Screenwipe – whereas other not dissimilar broadcasts are allowed to us it.

“It depends whether it’s satire, light entertainment, or factual. Given how vague these boundaries are and the fact that these rules were dreamed up some 27 years ago would he agree with me it’s a good juncture to revisit this and give a statement?”

Chris Grayling, the Leader of the House of Commons

Mr Grayling, who sits in the Cabinet and represents the Government on issues to do with the House of Commons, said he would not be in favour of lifting the ban on satire.

“If it’s a matter of concern to her she should put a submission to the administration committee,” he told her.

Screenwipe presenter Charlie Brooker has argued against the ban

“I think it’s very important that we make sure the coverage of this House is use in an appropriate way – I am not in favour of it being used for satire programmes.”

In 2011 Mr Brooker was prevented from using footage of media mogul Rupert Murdoch being hit with a custard pie on his satirical round-up of the year’s events.

“There was a lot of great footage that we weren’t allowed to use,” he told the BBC in 2011, describing the rules as “a pain”.

‘There are rules covering footage of any parliamentary proceedings, which you are not allowed to use in any satire, or entertainment.

“So we can’t show anything from the House of Commons, we can’t show Murdoch being hit by a pie. They can in America.”

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