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Elin Jones calls out Andrew RT Davies over his support for GB News

17 Oct 2023 6 minute read
Llywydd of the Senedd Elin Jones. Senedd Cymru

Presiding Officer Elin Jones has called out Andrew RT Davies after the Tory opposition group leader described a decision to remove the right-wing TV station GB News from the Senedd’s internal TV system as “censorship”.

A spokesperson for Ms Jones said: “GB News has been removed from the Senedd’s internal television system following a recent broadcast that was deliberately offensive, demeaning to public debate and contrary to our Parliament’s values.

“There are now several ongoing Ofcom investigations into the channel. The Commission will discuss the issue at a future meeting, and staff and Members who wish to view GB News will still be able to do so online in the Senedd.”

Mr Davies reacted to the decision by posting a message on X, formerly known as Twitter, that said: “This is a disgraceful decision. It’s censorship. Pure and simple.”

Responding to Mr Davies, Ms Jones stated: “Do you seriously support a channel that allows a woman to be talked about unchallenged as below to continue to be broadcast on our Senedd internal system? ‘show me a single, self-respecting man that would like to climb into bed with that woman … ever …Who’d want to shag that?”

Laurence Fox

Ms Jones was quoting the words of the actor-turned-right-wing activist Laurence Fox, leader of the Reclaim Party, on a recent GB News programme presented by former Sun journalist Dan Wootton. He was referring to the political journalist Ava Evans. Fox was sacked and Wootton, who grinned silently as Fox was speaking, has been suspended by the channel.

Former UKIP and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage also criticised the ban, but directed his ire at the Welsh Labour government rather than the Senedd, which made the decision. He said: “This shows just how awful the Welsh Labour administration is.They are totalitarian in their thinking and behaviour. Is this what lies in store for the whole of the UK under (Sir Keir) Starmer?”

Elin Jones is the Plaid Cymru MS for Ceredigion.

Mr Davies has been invited to respond to Ms Jones’ criticism of him, but has not done so.Recently Plaid’s Westminster leader Liz Saville-Roberts accused Mr Davies of “stoking division” through his appearances on GB News.

She posted a message on X which said: “GB News is used as a stage by Welsh politicians including @AndrewRTDavies to stoke division. Plaid Cymru has refused invitations to appear on this extremist propaganda outlet. All politicians who respect women should sever ties with this vile excuse for a channel.”

Concern has been mounting about the output of GB News, which often screens programmes in which right wing interviewers nod in agreement with the right-wing commentators they are interviewing.

Impartiality rules

Recently GB News was found to have breached impartiality rules by Ofcom for the third time since its launch in 2021.

The decision related to an episode of Saturday Morning with Esther and Phil, a discussion programme hosted by the Tory MP husband and wife duo Esther McVey and Philip Davies. The show featured a pre-recorded interview between the pair and Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, talking about the government’s economic policy ahead of the spring budget.

The programme received 45 complaints, and the investigation found that during the discussions “no real attention was given anywhere in the programme to the viewpoints of politicians, political parties, organisations or individuals that either, for example, criticised, opposed or put forward policy alternatives to the viewpoints given by the three Conservative politicians.”

An investigation by Byline Times established that Conservative MPs have been paid nearly £350,000 for appearances on GB News since the start of 2023.

There are currently six further active investigations into the channel, including two further episodes of Esther and Phil, two episodes of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s ‘State of the Nation’, and investigations into Laurence Fox’s show – guest-presented by Reclaim’s former deputy leader Martin Daubney – and an episode of ‘The Live Desk’.

Four of these investigations include possible breaches of rules limiting politicians acting as presenters, and three cover potential breaches of impartiality.

Since the channel was established in June 2021, three further investigations have concluded that GB News and one on ‘To The Point’ (GB News radio), have fallen short of expected standards.

The broadcaster was also found in breach of Ofcom regulations for a section on Mark Steyn’s show, featuring anti-vaccine conspiracy theorist Naomi Wolf. During the broadcast, Wolf repeatedly made unopposed claims that the Covid-19 vaccine rollout amounted to “mass murder”, as well as comparing it to “doctors in pre-Nazi Germany”.

This was the second time the channel was found by the regulator to have pushed misleading Covid conspiracies.

Nigel Farage

Three GB News shows were the subject of around 400 complaints in a single week at the end of August this year, hosted by Nigel Farage, Dan Wootton, and Mark Dolan.

In a discussion on his show covering gang violence at the Kabaddi Tournament in Derby, Farage said – without evidence – that the “finger of blame” lay with people linked to the Khalistan separatist movement, which strives to create a homeland for Sikhs.

The Sikh Federation UK strongly criticised the segment, arguing that Farage’s programme “was inaccurate and biased, misrepresented the facts, was offensive, misleading, discriminatory, spread hate, and was unfair”.

A senior officer for the Sikh Press Association said: “The GB News piece may be the worst example of anti-Sikh reporting from a UK news org I have seen in nearly nine years of covering Sikhs in UK media.”

In the same week, Mark Dolan’s show was hit with 74 complaints when presenter Patrick Christys “joked” with a guest that “If you had one fake gun and one fake bullet and you lined up Harry and James Corden, I don’t know which one you’d go for.”

Andrew RT Davies has been making regular appearances on the channel. Recently he attacked the 20mph speed limit on Dan Wootton’s programme.

Mr Wootton was allowed to continue broadcasting on GB News for many weeks after the Daily Mail suspended him on August 3 following an investigation by Byline Times into allegations that he pressured former colleagues to provide him with sexually explicit material.

On August 30 Mr Davies posted on X: “Labour’s blanket 20mph speed limits are Wales’ ULEZ. I told Dan Wootton on GB News that Welsh Conservatives would scrap them.”


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Jeff
Jeff
6 months ago

Not surprised capn tubthumper is upset. Gbeebies is a hate filled cess pit, right up his alley. He has a mobile, he can watch it on that. It is not censored.
How is Wooton doing? Still there?

Richard E
Richard E
6 months ago

The dreadful GBN is not one my picks or some of the folk who appear on ! The investigations by OftComm etc no doubt will shine a light 💡 into a dark places but half banning it from our Senedd is not the answer. In a free, fair and equitable Cymru we need to reflect all strands of society and no doubt they do reflect a fair number however small . Falling into a group of TV 📺 banners including Russia, Turkey , North Korea, Hungary, Cuba, Burma, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia etc etc is not a place we need to… Read more »

Padi Phillips
Padi Phillips
6 months ago
Reply to  Richard E

What utter tosh! The channel hasn’t been banned, censored or otherwise restricted, the Senedd has simply decided that it no longer wishes to host it on it’s own internal systems, i.e no longer wishes to give it a platform due to the nature of the content of the channel that promotes values not just seriously at odds with the values of our governing institution, but at odds with any civilised values. As the Llywydd pointed out, those who wish to view GBNews will still be able to do so on their own devices, though personally I think GBNews should be… Read more »

Jeff
Jeff
6 months ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

Also you need to look at the backers to this opinion channel (basically a UK version of Fox and look what damage they do in the US). If Mr Davies does due diligence then he either questions the funding and direction or is fully on board cos it fits his outlook.

When you employ the likes of Farage, Fox, Wootton and that ex coast guy that went full conspiracy and Robinson etc. then there are several alarm bells for decency. and integrity.

William Robson
William Robson
6 months ago
Reply to  Padi Phillips

Is not hosting it not censorship? sorry about the double negatives

Gareth
Gareth
6 months ago
Reply to  Richard E

This channel has broken broadcasting rules at regular intervals, and If Mr Davies wants to tune in, he is free to do so, as stated above, removing a free live feed from the Senedd is in line with decency rules by which they operate. Would you back the live feed of a sex channel, afterall, people engaged in a natural activity, is far more acceptable than spouting hate, and as you said, we need ” to reflect all strands of society”. No of course we should not have live sex on Senedd TV, why, because there is a certain point… Read more »

karl
karl
5 months ago
Reply to  Richard E

How silly are you, very is the answer. We have a long history of banning things that are immoral, when they meet the threshold. Gbeebies right now has broken ofcom rules, has allowed illegal political broadcasts against the clear rules. Our Senedd are right to avoid such dire fake media. After all the voter can still watch what they want, its those MS’s saying they don’t want hate in their workplace.

Simon Turner
Simon Turner
4 months ago
Reply to  Richard E

It’s not a news station. It is a political tool.

Paul ap Gareth
Paul ap Gareth
6 months ago

GBN is basically the press arm of the Conservative party. Creating their own echo chamber, Where Conservative government ministers can unveil any policy to an unchallenging sycophant presenter. It does nothing to enhance the understanding of the public.

Dai Ponty
Dai Ponty
6 months ago

I have just been reading comments from the people who watch this G B news and they are so bloody stupid some of them they believe the Senydd is banning G B news in Wales not just in the Senydd that shows the calibre of idiots that watch the trash

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
6 months ago
Reply to  Dai Ponty

They’ll be the ones doing 20mph on the M4 and A55 causing death and destruction because they chose to subscribe to the alternative truth of ‘blanket’.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
6 months ago

RT confirmed his answer to Elin Jones’ question not by being proud enough with personal conviction to reply to it via his position in our Parliament but by scuttling away to post it on ‘Snipe online’ (the site formerly known as..). By doing so, he confirmed his cowardice, impropriety, support for misogyny and unsuitability to retain his position. He must go NOW!

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
6 months ago

Ah, yes. GB News. Where to start. Firstly, it’s not news channel but an open sewer that allows detritus to spill vomit-like into our homes leaving a stench no bleach can remove. Most of its presenters are like discarded condoms, soiled nappies & sanitary towels that bob up and down in a pool of scum creating the most vulgar sight of filth that makes you want to shower each and every time you accidentally flick onto their channel by mistake and witness their Tory turd-fest of hatred and BritNat bigotry. They continually whine on about woke this, woke that, cancel… Read more »

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
6 months ago
Reply to  Y Cymro

While your rantipole views are the very soul of balance and propriety, of course.

Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
6 months ago

Good decision. Would the Sennedd now get involved in fighting homelessness, rising prices, public transport etc.

Philip Davies
Philip Davies
6 months ago

[How about releasing my stalled comment here and giving me a right of reply to your daft article on GB News before it is no longer news?]

William Robson
William Robson
6 months ago

Why is Jones applying censorship. does she think she is Drakefords right hand man. Better be careful of waters he is the blue eyed boy.
Does she have the right and or power to block news of any persuasion. Are we living in Putin ville, North Korea or any of the other world dictatorships?
This is above her pay grade and she should be removed from the government

Wrexhamian
Wrexhamian
6 months ago
Reply to  William Robson

It’s not a news channel, it’s a propaganda platform. Surely you can see that it would be beneath the dignity of the Senedd to countenance it’s presence on its TV screens?

Alun Gerrard
Alun Gerrard
6 months ago

Our politicians are so useless that they now get the credit for stopping the tide coming in and creating laws that are of no use whatsoever. We, the people need homes, social homes not affordable ones…jobs, transport that works and a better nhs.

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