And The Melton Mowbray Award 2014/15 Goes To……..

Well, for me it’s a close-run thing between Diane Abbott and the BBC. I am indebted to Media Guido for the article below.

Diane Abbott Pockets £110,000 of Licence Fee Payer Cash

Feel free to follow the link and you will be further directed to a schedule of payments, that Diane Abbott has properly declared, showing that every time she pops up on BBC’s This Week programme she pockets a cool £700.

In 2004, following a complaint made by Andrew Rosindell MP, Abbott was investigated by the Committee on Standards and Privileges regarding payment she had received from the BBC. They found she had failed to declare earnings of £17,300 on the Register of Members’ Interests which had been received for appearances on the television programme This Week, so, bearing that in mind she unfailingly declares her £700 per week courtesy of Auntie.

In August 2012 the BBC Trust ruled that payments to Abbott for her appearances on This Week were made in breach of BBC guidelines that banned payments to MPs who were representing their political parties. For her part, Abbott had correctly declared the payments in the Parliamentary Register of Members’ Interests. The Trust also said that Abbott had appeared on the show too often.

At the beginning of this year I wrote to the BBC and asked them this question;

“Could you please tell me for the 2012/2013 Financial Year;

a) How many serving MPs have appeared in BBC TV programmes (with the exception of live News Broadcasts etc)

b) What was the total sum of money paid to serving MPs for their appearance/contribution to BBC scheduled TV and Radio programmes”

Their reply included:-

With regard to payments to MPs, you may be interested to read the policy set out in the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines, which set out the principles to which BBC employees should adhere: http://www.bbc.co.uk/editorialguidelines/page/guidelines-politicspractices-interviews#payment-to-mps . These state:

10.4.7

We should not normally pay MPs, or others clearly identified as representing political parties, for appearances or other contributions to any BBC output in which they are speaking as a member of their party or expressing political views. They can, where appropriate, be paid a limited and realistic disturbance fee and/or any reimbursement for genuine expenses.

10.4.8

They may be paid for contributions to non-political output, where they are appearing on the basis of their expertise outside politics or of their celebrity, and are not taking part as a member of their party or expressing political views.

So, it was 2012 when she was ruled in breach of the above Editorial Guidelines.

Fast Forward to May 2014, the most recent entries available in the MPs Register of Financial Interests, and there we find our Diane still registering £700 a go for appearing on This Week, just not as often.

Much as I don’t like Diane Abbott, I can’t imagine that she would register money that she had NOT been paid, so I must assume that she has.

Therefore, by a process of elimination, I must award the Melton Mowbray to the BBC, for claiming that they don’t pay politicians for appearing on programmes such as This Week, when it is evident that they do.

Shame on you BBC, that’s OUR money.

Just in case any of you thought I was picking on the unfortunate Ms Abbott, Mr Keith Vaz has also declared that he has accepted payment from the BBC for appearing on Any Questions, which is also a politically orientated programme I believe.

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