Great Britain

BBC Question Time: 'Bias' Fiona Bruce blasted as she brushes over huge Brexit opportunity

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The host of Question Time asked Northern Ireland secretary Brandon Lewis about how the country will fare in Brexit, with the minister highlighting how it enjoys a unique trade status. Under the Brexit trade deal, Northern Ireland remains part of the EU’s single market, allowing it to trade without restrictions with the rest of the trading bloc, as well as remaining part of the UK. However, social media users were unhappy Mr Lewis’ comments about the single market “opportunity” were “ignored”, and claimed it showed the BBC’s “bias”.

Mr Lewis claimed Northern Ireland has a “unique competitive advantage” because of its twin status as part of the UK and the EU single market.

He said: “The protocol means that as part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland is going to have this unique competitive advantage in the world, in the sense that Northern Ireland will be able to trade in and as part of the United Kingdom, as well as through the single market with the EU.

“That’s going to mean, if you’re a business who deals with the UK and a business who deals with the EU, the place to invest and grow your business is in Northern Ireland.”

After Ms Bruce flagged Northern Ireland’s single market access and alignment with EU regulations would “push them a little closer to Dublin”, Mr Lewis added: “No because you have unfettered access from Northern into Great Britain as well, so you got that ability to trade both ways.

“I think that gives Northern Ireland a competitive advantage and a huge opportunity.”

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BBC news:

BBC news: Fiona Bruce has been accused of 'bias' against Brexit after skipping over Brandon Lewis' 'opportunity' for Northern Ireland (Image: BBC)

BBC news:

BBC news: Brandon Lewis said Northern Ireland's twin status with the EU and UK is a 'huge opportunity' (Image: BBC)

Twitter users were outraged the “huge opportunity” was not expanded on in the broadcast, with both Brexiteers and Remainers suggesting Ms Bruce skipped over the point.

One said: “We all had this 'huge opportunity with access to the UK and the EU through the single market.'

“A proper journalist would have picked up on this but unfortunately the BBC and Question Time employs Fiona Bruce instead.”

Another added: “Yet again Fiona Bruce displays the sort of anti Tory bias of the BBC.

“By always attacking the centre/right and giving the left an easy ride.”

BBC news:

BBC news: Under the Brexit deal, Northern Ireland is part of the EU's single market (Image: EXPRESS)

BBC news:

BBC news: Sammy Wilson has also criticised the BBC for being biased against Brexit and a united Ireland (Image: PA)

More complaints came in from viewers about Question Time being “anti-Tory”.

One user said: “Serious question. How do the viewing figures for BBC Question Time stack up against past years?”

Another user also cited Michelle O’Neill, Sinn Fein Deputy First Minister, who said: “In terms of Brexit there is nothing good to come from it.”

They added: “One Tory and four others piling in on him/her.”

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It comes after Sammy Wilson, Democratic Unionist Party MP from East Antrim, penned an article claiming the BBC’s “bias is plain for all to see”.

Following Kevin MacQuarrie being appointed as anti-bias guru on a salary of £325,000 a year, he said: “Why on earth anyone needs to be paid anything to unearth bias in the BBC is a mystery.

“The organisation’s bias is plain for all to see — it is anti-Brexit, anti-unionist and anti-Christian.

“Most of their presenters cannot hide their bias through the content of the programmes, the way they question those who the BBC despise and the imbalance in the commentators who they employ to give opinions on the issues which they report.”

BBC news:

BBC news: Edwin Poots has criticised Brandon Lewis for claiming supply issues in Northern Ireland are due to coronavirus (Image: PA)

BBC news:

BBC news: An explainer on TV licence fees across Europe (Image: EXPRESS)

It also comes after Mr Lewis was criticised for blaming issues with food supply in Northern Ireland on coronavirus rather than Brexit.

Edwin Poots, DUP Minister of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs, rubbished the claims and said: “Brandon Lewis is clearly going about like the emperor with no clothes; however, it is not a small boy who is pointing it out, but the entire crowd.

“He really needs to reflect on that. It is not a good policy to go about saying something that is blatantly not the case."

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