Lord Steel attacks SNP ‘heavies’ ‘intimidation’ of the BBC in one party state row

A former presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, Lord Steel, has strongly rebuked actions by the SNP which he perceived to come close to an attempt to intimidate the BBC.

The prominent Lib Dem launched his attack in the wake of an acrimonious dispute between the broadcaster and First Minister Alex Salmond as to the background behind his no-show as a commentator on a rugby broadcast.

This resulted in a war of words between both parties with Salmond describing the BBC executive who made the decision as a “gauleiter”.

Defending its actions the BBC said that the request had been initiated by the FM’s office, but refused on grounds of political bias – claims disputed by the SNP.

Speaking during a debate on the Scotland Bill last night Steel ventured: “I have been told by other broadcasters that the Salmond rugby experience was not unique for them and that SNP heavies have made more regular calls of complaint to newsrooms than all the other political parties put together and that this is running at times close to intimidation.

"We are seeing a trend towards the attributes of the one-party state, where news bulletins are led by stories of what the dear leader has been doing today and that is a real danger."

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John Glenday

John Glenday is responsible for compiling The Drum's daily morning bulletin and ensuring that overnight breaking news is covered while you're still brushing your teeth. Can also make a mean cup of tea.

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