Welsh Conservative leader calls on Ofcom to investigate Gary Neville World Cup comments on striking workers
The leader of the Welsh Conservatives has written to Ofcom to ask them to investigate whether former England footballer Gary Neville broke their impartiality rules in claiming that workers in the UK were being exploited.
Andrew RT Davies said the comments were “of a party political and partisan nature” and it was “completely inappropriate for them to be aired as part of coverage of a major international sporting event”.
During ITV’s coverage of the World Cup final, Neville – a Labour Party supporter – said: “We should detest low pay, we should detest poor accommodation and poor working conditions.
“That is something we can never, ever accept that in this region or in any region – and it is just worth mentioning we’ve got a current government in our country who are demonising rail workers, ambulance workers and – terrifyingly – nurses.”
He added: “We can’t have people being paid an absolute pittance to work, we can’t have people in accommodation which is unsavoury and disgusting.
“That shouldn’t happen here (in Qatar) with the wealth that exists. But it shouldn’t happen in our country, that our nurses are having to fight for an extra pound or an extra two pounds either.”
In his letter, Andrew RT Davies said that Gary Neville had directly compared workers’ rights in Qatar to those in the United Kingdom, and said the UK Government were “demonising mil workers [and) ambulance workers and terrifying nurses”.
“It is clear that these comments were of a party political and partisan nature. It was therefore completely inappropriate for them to be aired as part of coverage of a major international sporting event.
“Even if the comments were deemed suitable, no attempt was made by the presenter or any other pundits on the programme to challenge the views expressed or offer an alternative point of view. As such, requirements for political balance were clearly not met.
“I would therefore be grateful if you would investigate this case. Furthermore, I would be grateful if you would take steps to ensure coverage of future sporting events in the United Kingdom is not used to push political agendas, and that broadcasters are reminded of their responsibilities.
“Thank you for taking the time to consider my concerns, and I look forward to hearing from you.”
Media watchdog Ofcom said on Monday evening that it had received 441 complaints about the comments.
A spokesperson said: “We are assessing this content as a priority and have asked ITV provide us with details about the broadcast to inform that work”.
Yesterday Rishi Sunak also hit back at former England footballer Gary Neville’s comments.
The Prime Minister told broadcasters: “I don’t think that’s right at all.”
“If you look at our track record and my track record, as chancellor, I’ve always done everything I can to support our NHS and indeed, the wonderful people who work in it.
“I grew up in an NHS family. I spent my life working in my mum’s pharmacy, when I was younger. And if you look at what we did during Covid, we provided enormous support to the frontline at a time, when it comes to pay, when everyone else in the public sector experienced a pay freeze.”
Mr Sunak, speaking during a visit to Riga, said: “The one group that was singled out for special treatment were the NHS workers, rightly, who received that support but also beyond that for nurses, in particular, we’ve put in place nurses’ bursaries when they’re training to become nurses.
“The unions asked for a training budget once they qualified and again, as chancellor, we put that in place, to give nurses the support they need.
“So look, I know things are difficult at the moment for people up and down the country with inflation. Of course I get that. That’s why we’ve put an enormous amount of support in place for people’s energy bills.”
He said that the Government wanted to find a “sensible way through” on pay.
The Government faces a series of industrial disputes with NHS staff including nurses and ambulance workers as wages fail to keep pace with high inflation.
Earlier, Mr Sunak told the Daily Mail: “I think when most people are tuning in to watch Gary Neville they want to hear about the football and watch the football.
“They don’t want to discuss politics.”
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Andy’s such a snowflake…
RT you should have put Jeremy Clarkson’s name up for inciting racial and misogynistic hatred and violence, you waste of public money…
To communicate with likes of ARTD I’ve become convinced that that all you need to say is “yak,yak,yak yak ….” because wasting your time and breath putting together coherent sentences serves no purpose.
You must be including ‘proud’ Rishi in that then because RT is just parroting his comments plus his own bile…
Never let them have the last word, that’s the BBC News’ way of selling the licence payer down the river…
So ARTie opposes free speech if it involves criticising the Tory government?
Oppressive, Orwellian, Authoritarian police State. Got it. Thanks 🙄
NURSE !!! Davies is out of bed again, and hes talking rubbish as well.
Apart from traces of drugs, Fatshanks left two terrible booby traps in No 10 as parting presents to the people of these islands-Truss and Sunak and their comet’s tail of thieving racist sadists to do to Britain what Putin is doing to Ukraine without firing a shot…apart from the one that killed Joe Cox…that was around the time of Farage. Who will be sacrificed on the alter of Braverman and Clarkson ?
The Aristocracy, the Establishment, the City, and the Tory Party did not just launder dirty Russian money (other money is available, when he slipped that coat of many deaths on ‘Messi’ I wanted to scream no!…) , they put on their clothes and joined their criminal fraternity and sold Blighty to the British Virgin Islands etc cash for honours, bags full, laid before a future King. Bent as a nine bob notes…our betters, ha ha ******* ha
If RT had applied to be a boot cleaner for Gary Neville, he would have been declined for being unworthy.
Yesterday i watched Dripford who i do not like take this Fat oaf to pieces with one of his stupid questions in the Senedd on t v how about the serious fraud squad investigating your party
Imagine arguing that low pay is OK. That’s the view RT takes. He should not be in politics. Neville said the obvious
I wish Tory Troll Andrew RT Davies would go back under his bridge and shut up.. Since when was it a crime to have an opinion or show support? Only recently did the Conservatives champion our NHS doctors & nurses for their dedication during the Covid pandemic only now to demonise those forced to strike. Apparently they are not worth the 17.6% wage rise inline with inflation but bankers are rewarded with the removal of their bonus cap.. What a Conservative cretin he is. 🙄
Typical tory. Exploitation of the poor. Can’t wait for these parasites to be kicked out at the next election. Gwynt teg ar eich holau a thán uffern ar eich pennau.
Have the Conservative Party ever got anything nice to say?
So Neville is at fault but Clarkson is OK? What sort of cesspit has the Media and supporting Tories become? This man is hateful, and almost always wrong.
It would be good if Andrew RT Davies could see some positive now and again. He never does. He can’t contribute meaningfully to any discussion because everything he says is clouded with negativity. Instead of wailing, toddler like about Gary Neville, why couldn’t he engage in a discussion about what he said? Simple answer, he can’t. He hasn’t got the intellect.
People should be allowed to say what they like. Wait a sec, disregard the “should be allowed to”.
Joe Cox and Farage…Braverman/Clarkson and which poor soul this time…the BNP etc incite violence. Farage and Clarkson legitimise it in the minds of potential killers, sane or otherwise. Of course you know this I.H…
Some might find it rather hypocritical that these days RT appears to be more vocal and exercised by non-devolved matters like immigration and broadcasting than his day job.
I support Gary Nevilllee.
If members of politicsl groups, royalty and presidents can use sport to make points and enhance their image so can commemtators.
So in the Tory world support for human rights is now a party political issue? At least we know they are going flat out into fascism which is interesting given Churchill’s wartime demands for summary execution of those political leaders.