The Partygate coverage by BBC angered the Tory MPs and made them turn on BBC. According to them, it is some kind of a campaign that is run by the BBC against Boris Johnson to keep dragging the Partygate scandal. In the same regard, Lee Anderson angrily said in a live TV exchange that it is quite sad to see the corporation going “on and on” about Partygate. They believe that it is done to tarnish the image of the Prime Minister as Adam Holloway, another Tory MP, accuses BBC of projecting the PM’s image like that of the movie monster Hannibal Lecter.
Mr Johnson also hinted how the focus of the media is on the leadership of the Conservative Party. However, he made all attempts not to single out BBC. Nonetheless, the government is known to be annoyed at the way BBC covered the Partygate incident, putting allegations on the government ministers and MPs of the Conservative Party for breaking the lockdown regulations during the pandemic.
To get a clear idea of the entire situation, let’s first throw some light on the Partygate Scandal.
The Partygate Scandal involves the allegations put on the UK government and other members of the Conservative Party for holding parties and gatherings during the Covid-19 crisis in 2020 and 2021, thus breaking the lockdown regulations. Despite lockdowns in the country, social gatherings were seen to take place at 10 Downing Street, its garden, and other buildings of the government. This kind of recklessness from the government authorities gave rise to media attention, political controversy, and public backlash. As per the investigation carried out by the Metropolitan Police, it was revealed that Prime Minister Boris Johnson also attended at least three of the twelve gatherings that took place. It is further reported that the police issued fixed penalty notices (FPNs) to about 83 people, including Johnson and his wife. The incident also angered Queen Elizabeth II as two events took place the day before the funeral of Prince Philip. A gathering conducted on the birthday of PM Johnson was also reported, and later reports on the excessive consumption of alcohol in these gatherings were also in circulation.
Several investigations took place to address the matter. The final investigation found that many gatherings violated Covid guidelines. It revealed, “multiple breaches” of the regulations that were in place during the crisis. Repeated instances of staff “flouting” the codes of conduct and the procedures of investigations were also brought to light. This led Downing Street to face severe criticism from the media and public. In fact, the events were carried out with full acknowledgement of the officials who organised them. They even renamed the events to make them sound less like parties.
Unethical behaviour and disrespect towards security staff and cleaners were also seen during these gatherings. It was reported that Downing Street staff treated the security and domestic help with rudeness on a regular basis. Some workers told the investigators that they were afraid to raise their concerns as it might have put their jobs in danger.
It is in light of the Partygate Scandal and its continued coverage by the BBC that made the Tories infuriated. One of the Tory MPs, Mr Anderson, accused BBC’s Geeta Guru-Murthy of being on a witch-hunt led by the BBC. In a recent interview, Mr Anderson was asked by Geetha Guru-Murthy about Mr Johnson, pointing at the accusations on the PM for lying to the Queen, the public, and the House of Commons.
Mr Anderson further called Guru-Murthy an ally of the Labour Party, having propaganda to defame Mr Johnson. In this regard, she replied that it is the members of the Conservative Party who have voted and not the media.
However, the MP said that the Labour Party was against Mr Johnson from day one. He further added that the corporation is on a massive witch-hunt and that it’s time to leave him alone. He also asked the public to wait for two years to see the PM fulfilling all his promises.
While Mr Anderson kept on talking about BBC’s witch-hunt, Guru-Murthy kept assuring the MP that there was no such witch-hunt from the corporation. It appeared that the MP was in no mood to pay heed to what the presenter was saying. Time and again, he kept attacking her questions, saying that there was a witch-hunt. He also said that the BBC should be defunded and that his inbox is flooded with complaints about the BBC. Moreover, he once again blamed Geeta Guru-Murthy, the Labour Party, and the mainstream media for dragging the scandal to defame the government.
“You're not going to let this drop are you? You're going to go on and on and on. It's quite sad.”
To this, Miss Murthy said that as media persons, their job is to ask questions regardless of party.
Not just Mr Anderson show his anger at the corporation, but Mr Holloway also accused it of making the Prime Minister look like the villain in “Silence of Lambs.” He said that media coverage like this has harmed the government and politics and that it should, in turn, harm the organisations like the BBC.
But the presenter and the BBC also declined the accusations made by the Tory MPs. As media organisations, they were just doing what was needed of them without any ulterior motives.
What are your views on the BBC? Do you think that the corporation is doing the right job in unmasking the unethical behaviour of the Conservative Party? Or is it a pure sensationalisation of the Partygate incident?
Feel free to share your opinions in the comment section!