BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg had “personal protection” during the election campaign following online threats from Jeremy Corbyn supporters, The Spectator’s Charles Moore has reported.
Moore, former editor of the weekly magazine, said in a column today: “Early in the campaign, Kuenssberg was assailed by Labour supporters. But later on, and in the post-election recriminations, it was Conservative supporters who were the more annoyed with her.
“Perhaps this is simply explained by the fact that Labour did better than expected and the Tories did worse.
“However, the bit the Tories haven’t said in public but keep complaining about in private is that the BBC never reported that Kuenssberg was so badly threatened online by Corbyn supporters that she was given personal protection.
“They feel that this subdued her capacity to cover the contest clearly.”
The BBC told Press Gazette it does not comment on security issues.
Kuenssberg has faced a number of accusations of bias during her two-year tenure as the BBC’s political editor, with Corbyn supporters in particular claiming she favours the Conservative government.
In May last year, a petition calling for her to be sacked prompted condemnation from the Prime Minister in parliament after it was said to have been “hijacked” by “sexist trolls”.
Chuka Umunna, MP for Streatham in London, is one of a number of Labour politicians who has dismissed the claims of bias against Kuenssberg, calling them “utter garbage”.
In the report, Kuenssberg quoted Corybn as saying: “I am not happy with a shoot to kill policy in general. I think that is quite dangerous and I think can often be counter-productive.”
Her report said this was his response to a question put to him as to whether he would be “happy for British officers to pull the trigger in the event of a Paris-style attack”.
In fact the exact wording of the question put to Corbyn, which was included in a full version of the interview carried online, was: “If you were Prime Minister would you be happy to order people, police or military, to shoot to kill on Britain’s streets?”
In an interview with Press Gazette after being named Journalist of the Year at the British Press Awards 2016, Kuenssberg said of the criticism against her: “Politics is a tough business and I’m not going to get into that.”