A group of Conservative MPs are calling on backers of The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ) to withdraw funding after its “appalling” investigation into Lord McAlpine for Newsnight.
The report, which aired on 2 November, linked a Tory MP – later wrongly identified as McAlpine on the internet – to child abuse in North Wales.
The mistaken report led to the resignation of Iain Overton as editor of TBIJ and played a part in the resignation on Saturday night of BBC director general George Entwistle, who admitted to not knowing anything about in advance of broadcast.
Tory MPs Andrew Bridgen, Philip Davies and Bob Blackman put their names an Early Day Motion (EDM) in Parliament yesterday calling for TBIJ’s funding to be cut. So far no other MPs have put their names to the motion.
The Hansard record of the EDM says: “That this House deplores the appalling quality of The Bureau of Investigative Journalism's (TBIJ) investigation into Lord McAlpine for Newsnight.”
It also noted that “the former Managing Director of BBC Television, Will Wyatt, described it as ‘completely terrible journalism’” and pointed out that “TBIJ has previously criticised Help for Heroes”.
The MPs now believe that The Bureau is “totally discredited as a serious producer of quality journalism” and expressed regret that its investigation has “taken attention away from other very serious allegations of child abuse”.
The EDM calls for City University, The David and Elaine Potter Foundation, Oxfam, the Green Park Foundation, Stamp Out Poverty, Save the Children and the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust to “cut all ties and refuse to donate any more money to TBIJ”.