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Ofcom confirms GB News impartiality investigation

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, courtesy UK Parliament

Ofcom has confirmed it is investigating GB News over a possible breach of impartiality rules after two serving Conservative MPs interviewed the chancellor ahead of his spring budget on the channel.

Former Tory cabinet minister Esther McVey, MP for Tatton in Cheshire, and her husband, Philip Davies, the MP for Shipley near Leeds, interviewed Jeremy Hunt on Saturday 11 March for their weekly show.

Ofcom has announced that it will investigate whether the show broke the media watchdog’s rules “requiring news and current affairs to be presented with due impartiality.”

It added: “Our investigation will look at the programme’s compliance with our rules on politicians presenting programmes, and whether it included an appropriately wide range of significant views relating to a matter of major political controversy or current public policy.”

SNP MP John Nicolson, a member of the DCMS committee, described the interview as “a love-in” about “how good the Tory budget was.”

Separately, Ofcom has confirmed that it will not pursue several complaints about impartiality made about the Tory MP Nadine Dorries’s February Talk TV interview with former prime minister Boris Johnson.

The watchdog decided to publish the reasons for its decision because its assessment involved “matters of public interest”

It said in a statement: “In our view, the combination of prerecorded interview, in-depth studio analysis and panel discussion within this long-form programme was consistent with a current affairs format.

“At the time of broadcast, Ms Dorries was not standing in an election taking place, or about to take place.

“A range of alternative viewpoints, providing challenge and context to those of Mr Johnson, his government and the Conservative party more generally, were reflected in the studio panel discussions, which were interspersed between each segment of the interview with the former prime minister.

“Given this, the programme did not raise issues under our rules preventing politicians from presenting news programmes, or those concerning due impartiality.”

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