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    5. Scottish Conservative leader accuses BBC of bias


    Scottish Conservative leader accuses BBC of bias

    Douglas Ross accused the BBC of bias Photo: Leslie Martin/Reuters

    Douglas Ross accused the BBC of bias after he was told was not allowed to pre-record a TV interview so he could look after his two young children, but Scottish National Party ministers were allowed.

    The Scottish Conservative leader said the broadcaster's leading Sunday show refused to schedule an interview after his party conference. take into account that his police officer wife leaves for her shift at 7am.

    In a lengthy statement posted online, he noted that the program had previously allowed Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes of the Scottish National Party to pre-record interviews .

    Mr Ross accused the BBC of making him “choose between his family and his family”. or their interviews” and it was an “easy decision” for the husband and father to choose the former.

    The Sunday show airs live at 10am on Sundays on BBC One Scotland and usually features interviews with Scottish political figures. party leaders on the weekend of their party conferences.

    However, the main interview this Sunday was with Shona Robison, Deputy First Minister of the SNP.

    The main interview this Sunday was instead with Shona Robison, Deputy First Minister of the Scottish National Party. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA

    Martin Geissler told the audience Ross was “unavailable due to childcare issues” and no other senior party official was available. But he made no mention of the BBC's refusal to pre-record the interview.

    The corporation later released a statement saying that the Sunday Show always conducted interviews at the conference “on the day of transmission”, but this was not the case. do not explain why this was necessary.

    Tory insiders said the BBC had known about Mrs Ross's change in police force for weeks but declined requests to interview him on Saturday at a conference in Aberdeen, despite that she had “treasures” of journalists. present.

    Mr Ross, who is also MP for Moray, has two sons aged two and four. His wife Krystle is a Police Scotland officer.

    In a statement on Twitter, he said no Scottish Conservatives would appear on the program after the BBC refused to pre-record the interview.

    “We have been discussing this issue with the BBC for several weeks. My wife started her day shift at Police Scotland at 7am this morning, so I'm looking after our two boys, aged four and two,” he said.

    “There just wasn't an opportunity for an interview this morning, so we asked for an interview on Saturday afternoon.

    “I had hoped that, given these family commitments, the BBC would be flexible in their approach, but they insisted on an interview. could only take place on Sunday morning.

    “This is despite the fact that the BBC had previously pre-recorded interviews with Scottish National Party politicians. In recent months, Humza Yousaf and Kate Forbes have been allowed to pre-record interviews days ahead of Sunday's broadcast.”

    Martin Geissler told the audience that Mr. Ross was “unavailable due to child care issues”; Photo: Twitter

    The show's March 5, 2023 episode, which is still available on BBC iPlayer, featured a pre-recorded interview with Ms Forbes, who stood for the SNP leadership.

    Mr Geissler introduced the segment by saying: “She was on the stump in Inverness yesterday where she took the time to talk to me.”

    Mr Ross said he was looking forward to appearing on the program to discuss the conference, which took place on Friday and Saturday.

    But he said: “As a husband and father, I value the limited time I have with my family. I'm not a political person and I'm sorry senior BBC producers couldn't understand or accept that.”

    Mr Ross concluded: “We all want to do everything we can to get more people involved in politics, but this BBC decision suggests we still have some way to go for people to understand the family pressures of balancing being a politician and being a parent.

    Mr Geissler asked Ms Robison in an interview whether she would look forward to covering for Mr Yousaf when he is on paternity leave.

    The First Minister and his wife announced on Friday that they were expecting a baby.

    Ruth Davidson, the former leader of the Scottish Conservatives, tweeted: “This seems particularly bad of BBCScotlandNews given they previously agreed to be interviewed by Humza Yousuf and &#64 ;‌_KateForbes as preliminary records that will be played on Sunday.”

    'A clear case of double standards'

    Craig Hoy, chairman of the Scottish Conservatives, tweeted during the programme: 'Very poor and worrying editorial decision by the BBC. This is a clear case of double standards and before they go off air, Martin and the BBCScotlandNews team on Sunday's show need to explain how this situation came about.”

    He later added: “On the same program they asked Shona Robison whether whether she hopes to cover for the First Minister while he is on maternity leave, the BBC was unable to explain why they refused Douglas Ross an advance appointment so he could look after his two boys today. Bad BBC show.”

    A BBC spokeswoman said: “The Sunday Show always conducts interviews at the party conference on the day of the broadcast, although we are flexible with the location and timing.”

    ” In the interests of fairness and consistency we made this offer to Mr Ross or another representative of the Scottish Conservatives, but this offer was not accepted.”

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