Wednesday 26 September 2007

BBC Insists On Political Impartiality for H&F Council Leader’s State Of The Borough Address

Thanks to the BBC’s absolute political impartiality Opposition Councillors were yesterday evening sent a last minute invite to the Leader of H&F Council’s self-styled State of the Borough Address. This despite H&F officials having only hours earlier reaffirmed that the Opposition would not be allowed in. The event is due to take place at 7.00pm this evening and is taking place at the BBC’s White City offices.

Readers will recall that H&F Council used tax payers' cash to invite what it deemed to be 800 local key opinion formers to attend this event. The same event was previously funded directly by the H&F Conservative Party.

Below are extracts from the three emails sent by senior council officials to me initially explaining their reasons why I and my colleagues were not amongst the eight hundred people to be invited - then relenting in what can only be seen as an embarrassing U turn following representations from the BBC who are hosting the event. It’s a shame H&F Council doesn’t share the BBC’s approach to impartiality.

Here's H&F Council's differing explanations:

  1. 7th September 9.37am. The Opposition are not invited because:
    "Because of the nature and purpose of the event and the limited capacity."
  2. 25th September 4.21pm. The Opposition are still not invited because:
    "Because of the nature of the event there is no need for the Opposition to attend."
  3. 25th September 7.07pm. The Opposition are now invited... because:
    "I have been approached by the BBC expressing their concerns with regards to the above event over political neutrality. To avoid any possible embarrassment to the BBC, I am happy to extend the invitation to you as Leader of the Opposition and your Shadow Cabinet."
At the time of writing this, Local MP Andy Slaughter (Lab) is still denied an invite, despite the event happening in his constituency.

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