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SNP says Boris Johnson’s COVID briefings ‘abuse BBC neutrality’ during election

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Boris Johnson’s coronavirus briefings “abuse the neutrality of the BBC,” the SNP said.

Critics of Nicola Sturgeon’s party came after the Prime Minister attacked London Mayor Sadiq Khan during a press conference in Downing Street.

Johnson on Monday accused the “current Labor mayor” of “blowing up” Transport for London (TfL) finances. Khan later accused Johnson of lying.

John Nicolson, SNP media spokesman in Westminster, accused the Prime Minister of engaging in a “political diatribe”.

This is the final salvo of the briefing battle. Scottish Tories last month slammed the BBC for continuing to broadcast the Scottish government’s COVID updates during Holyrood’s election campaign.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said the press conference should be chaired by “public health officials”.

Reports from Tuesday morning suggest the BBC has now held internal talks on what to do for the Prime Minister to launch political attacks on opposition politicians during his coronavirus press conferences.

There are strict rules of impartiality for broadcasters in an election.

A BBC insider told Politico London playbook: “A one-off event can probably be forgotten, but if it becomes a regular and deliberate theme, the problems are obvious.”

Nicolson said: “Boris Johnson’s political rants on live television abuse the neutrality of the BBC.

“Its briefings are supposed to focus on public health advice, not party politics.

“The Premier is rightly apolitical in her health briefings.

“These briefings were held to give the public unbiased health advice to help keep people safe and understand COVID restrictions.

“The Prime Minister is putting the BBC in a nasty position. But if he refuses to behave, he must apply his own rules of impartiality and electoral law. “

Last month Ross said allowing the SNP to continue broadcasting the Prime Minister’s briefings “would have profoundly damaging consequences for democracy in Scotland”.

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