Blog: BBC Brexit bias row erupts over ‘pro-EU soft questioning’ of Irish guest on radio show – Express

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Baroness Hoey took aim at William Crawley, BBC Talkback presenter, for his interview with Bobby McDonagh, a former Irish ambassador to the UK. During their discussion about the ongoing problems stemming from the Northern Ireland Protocol, the former MP for Vauxhall said Mr Crawley displayed “pro-EU bias”.

She tweeted: “What a biased programme BBC Talkback is on anything to do with the Protocol.

“William Crawley never challenges those who continue to blame Brexit for the Protocol -his pro-EU bias shows in his soft questioning of Bobby McDonagh.”

The Irishman was quick to hit back at her criticism, insisting the interviewer was “objective”.

He said he had “a lot more to say beyond my brief interventions” and “the excellent William Crawley gets up your nose because he’s objective”.

The BBC has been contacted for comment.

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Kate Hoey kicked off a BBC bias row on Twitter following a Brexit discussion on BBC Talk Back (Image: GETTY)

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Kate Hoey said the BBC has pro-EU bias (Image: GETTY)

Some social media users agreed with Baroness Hoey’s assessment, with one saying the interview was a “standard BBC” piece.

But others said Brexit is to blame for the problems arising from the controversial protocol.

One person replied: “No Brexit, no protocol. Hardly rocket science.”

And a second wrote: “I’m sorry the only reason we have the protocol is because of Brexit.”

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Kate Hoey accused the BBC of pro-EU bias (Image: GETTY)

The Twitter debate comes amid a worsening row between London and Brussels over the protocol.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said she will discuss the issue with Boris Johnson when she has a private meeting with him at the G7 summit in Cornwall.

Ahead of her trip across the Channel, the EU chief reiterated her rigid stance on the protocol.

She told reporters at a press conference in Brussels, she said the protocol is the “only solution” to prevent a hard border with the Republic and must be implemented “completely”.

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European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (Image: GETTY)

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The BBC has been hit by fresh claims of bias (Image: GETTY)

She added; “We have been debating that for years and we have found the one and only solution.

“We have a treaty on that – the Withdrawal Agreement.

“It has been signed by both sides. It is important that we now implement the protocol.

“We have shown flexibility, we will show flexibility, but the protocol and the Withdrawal Agreement have to be implemented completely.”

The protocol is a key part of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement signed by the UK and the EU.

Key moments that led to Brexit

Key moments that led to Brexit (Image: EXPRESS)

Its aim is to prevent a return to a hard boundary on the island of Ireland, but many Unionists in the Six Counties want to see it scrapped.

It has led to a trade barrier being erected in the Irish Sea between Northern Ireland and Great Britain, with checks being carried out on goods coming into the province.

Pro-Union communities fear they have been effectively cut off from the rest of the UK.

Maros Sefcovic, the EU official responsible for implementing the Brexit deal, said the bloc’s patience is “wearing thin” in the protocol negotiations.

Asked about his comments today, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said both the UK and the EU were committed to consolidating the gains of the Good Friday Agreement.

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The EU’s Maros Sefcovic said the bloc’s patience is wearing thin (Image: GETTY)

He added: “I have worked with Maros Sefcovic in the past, I know that he is a pragmatic politician who has the interests of the people of Northern Ireland at the heart of everything he is doing.

“There are details that we do need to resolve in order to ensure that the protocol works effectively but I know that the European team are committed to working with the UK Government to resolve those issues.

“On the whole question of the implementation of the protocol we have made it clear that the people of Northern Ireland have to come first, it has to be as lightly as possible on the daily lives and the economic lives of people in Northern Ireland and we are committed to doing everything we can to uphold our obligations under the protocol but also to make sure that the Belfast Good Friday Agreement in all of its dimensions, east/west as well as north/south is upheld and protected.”

The BBC has been contacted for comment. 

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