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BBC Breakfast editor apologises to Proctor over Munchetty interview

Naga Munchetty

The BBC has privately apologised to former MP Harvey Proctor and admitted Naga Munchetty made an error in an interview with him on the BBC One Breakfast programme, according to the Press Gazette.

Proctor walked out of the interview after Munchetty claimed Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick had been cleared by two independent reports into the Met’s handling of Operation Midland.

The former MP was one of those to be falsely accused by Carl Beech of being part of a “VIP paedophile ring” operating in Westminster.

Proctor filed a complaint with the BBC after it dismissed viewers’ complaints over his interview with Munchetty on October 5th, saying she had conducted it in a “fair and understanding manner”.

BBC Breakfast editor Richard Frediani has subsequently written to the former Tory politician in an email seen by Press Gazette.

He wrote: “I fully accept that while the IOPC did not find evidence of deliberate wrongdoing by the Met Officers it investigated, their investigation did not in fact refer to Ms Dick as the subsequent exchange suggested.

“I’m very sorry we got this wrong, but I hope you can accept mistakes can happen in live broadcasting and that this was not of course a lie (as Proctor had claimed in his complaint).”

Proctor had also accused the BBC of “covering up” its error in dismissing earlier viewers’ complaints about the interview, which led Frediani to write: “These postings are designed to address the main substance of audience complaints the BBC receives, which in this case was around the general nature of the interview rather than any specific comment.

“While this posting has since been amended, we were not, of course, covering anything up as you suggest. Naga was faced with a genuine editorial difficulty when you referred to Cressida Dick as a liar because of what she had said in an interview with another broadcaster.

“As Naga did not have a transcript of these comments in front of her she was quite properly conscious of right to reply issues should the interview progress further along these lines.

“I am, however, very sorry that you were upset by the exchanges and by our subsequent response but I hope I have been able to clarify what happened.”

Proctor told Press Gazette: “They do not like to admit it, but effectively they have upheld my complaint against her. What she said in defence of Dick on Breakfast was untrue. Strange then that the BBC write to me but seem not to want anyone else to know.”

Munchetty hit the headlines when she was rebuked – and then cleared – by the BBC for comments made regarding Donald Trump on the MediaCityUK-filmed programme.

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