Minister questioned over Johnson’s attack on the BBC
One of Boris Johnson’s ministers was asked when the Prime Minister risked his life for the truth after the Tory leader criticized BBC coverage of government policies.
The prime minister said the broadcaster and senior clergy figures had been “less vocal” in their condemnation of Vladimir Putin than they had been over plans to send asylum seekers to Rwanda.
His comments, during a private meeting with the Tories in Parliament on Tuesday evening, came as he sought to distract from his apology for breaking coronavirus rules by attending his anti-coronavirus birthday party. confinement in the Cabinet room in June 2020.
Sources close to the Prime Minister said he told Tory MPs in a private meeting that it was ‘good policy’ despite some ‘criticism on the BBC and from senior clergymen’ who, according to him, “had been less vocal in their condemnation on Easter Sunday of Putin than they were on our illegal immigrant policy”.
On BBC Radio 4’s Today on Wednesday, presenter Justin Webb challenged Business Secretary Paul Scully over the Prime Minister’s comments.
Mr Scully said he had ‘not seen much coverage’ on the BBC about the plan to send asylum seekers arriving in the UK one-way to Rwanda for processing’ because I was away on the weekend”.
Webb said: ‘He apparently pointed out to Tory MPs that the BBC and the Archbishop (of Canterbury) were not focusing enough on Vladimir Putin.
“I’m just wondering, can you find an occasion where Boris Johnson has put his life on the line for the truth – like (BBC correspondents) Jeremy Bowen did, like Lyse Doucet did, like Clive Myrie did it?”
Mr Johnson faces the prospect of a vote in the House of Commons on Thursday on whether a parliamentary committee should investigate allegations that he lied in the House.
Mr Scully said: ‘It’s not something I can particularly comment on…in terms of the fact that…his approach to his view of the BBC’s approach to Putin.’
Webb suggested it was a ‘smokescreen’ and that Mr Johnson was ‘attacking people he really shouldn’t be attacking’.
Mr Scully said: ‘I don’t particularly remember the comment, I’m just trying to give the context which I think he may have been trying to give.’
He acknowledged there had been “excellent coverage from the BBC and beyond” on the ground in Ukraine.
“I’m not attacking the BBC, I’m here with you,” he told Today.