BBC rejects the complaints of a 'toad-faced hypocrite' | MP's battle with Russell Howard's Good News

BBC rejects the complaints of a 'toad-faced hypocrite'

MP's battle with Russell Howard's Good News

Calling Conservative MP Philip Davies a ‘toad-faced hypocrite’ is perfectly all right, according to the BBC Trust.

The Tory lodged a complaint after Russell Howard mocked him during two episodes of Good News, also calling him an ‘arsehole’ a ‘wanker’ a ‘windbag and a ‘shit for brains’.

But the Trust ruled against him.

In November, Davies was accused of filibustering, when he tried to block proposals to introduce free hospital parking for carers by speaking for 93 minutes in a Commons debate. And the following month he spoke for 52 minutes against a law to teach pupils first aid.

On the first story, Howard called him out for being a hypocrite after showing a picture of the MP brandishing a placard saying: ‘I pledge to speak up for carers in Parliament.'

The comedian added: ‘What an arsehole, carers have to pay to park at hospitals, they wanted a debate to end this bullshit and that wanker spoke for 93 minutes so they couldn’t.’

Davies also complained about being mocked for saying that disabled people should offer to work for less than the minimum wage when his position was that they should be allowed to make such an offer to make them more attractive to employers.

The MP complained that the comments made about him were ‘inaccurate and defamatory’ and that the show misrepresented him. 

He had already gone through the formal complaints procedure and written  o Director-General Lord Hall  and  succeeded in getting a clarification on the BBC website, saying: ‘We are happy to clarify that Mr Davies did not personally use up all the time available for the [car parking] debate and that almost three hours remained after he sat down’ and clarifying his position on disabled workers.

However, Davies was not satisfied with that and  took his complaint to the corporation’s governing body.

In their ruling, published today,  the BBC Trust said that the Good News audience would expect Howard to be ‘biting and bruising’ in his satire.

And they said: ‘Trustees agreed that satire should have a basis in truth but also accepted that it would be an acerbic approach to a topic by its very nature. 

‘Programmes featuring satire and particularly political satire would necessarily be allowed substantially more leeway in their approach to accuracy and fairness than for example news or a current affairs programme. To do otherwise would be to risk an unwarranted curtailment of freedom of expression which would not be acceptable in a democracy.’

Rejecting Davies’ complaints The BBC Trust felt that the BBC’s online clarifications and agreement not to air the episodes again, was a ‘proportionate and appropriate response’ and that ‘further action was not necessary’.

• Comedy Central has announced that Russell Howard & Mum USA Road Trip will debut on October 19, and released this trailer for the six-part series:

Published: 29 Sep 2016

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