Arch-Europhile Alas­tair Camp­bell asked 280 TV chiefs if Brexit made them hope­ful. Not one said yes

Daily Mail - - News - By Kather­ine Rush­ton Me­dia and Tech­nol­ogy Edi­tor

ALAS­TAIR Camp­bell en­cour­aged hun­dreds of TV ex­ec­u­tives to help block Brexit af­ter they all re­fused to say they were op­ti­mistic about leav­ing the EU.

the for­mer labour spin doc­tor was ad­dress­ing the cream of Bri­tain’s broad­cast­ing in­dus­try at the royal tele­vi­sion so­ci­ety con­fer­ence.

He asked the au­di­ence of nearly 280 to raise their hands if they were ‘op­ti­mistic’ about Brexit. But – high­light­ing con­cerns of left-wing bias in an in­dus­try that wields enor­mous power and in­flu­ence – not a sin­gle per­son did so.

Mr Camp­bell then urged them to do any­thing they can to stop Brexit. ‘it has got to be stopped,’ he said.

‘Any­thing you can do to help stop it, as cit­i­zens, as busi­ness di­rec­tors, well frankly do it.’ it is not clear who was in the mag­nif­i­cent din­ing hall of King’s Col­lege, Cam­bridge, on thurs­day night.

But the three-day con­fer­ence is at­tended by some of the most pow­er­ful fig­ures in broad­cast­ing, in­clud­ing BBC World­wide chief ex­ec­u­tive tim Davie, BBC chair­man sir David Cle­menti, Chan­nel 4 boss David Abra­ham and 21st Cen­tury Fox chief James Mur­doch.

Mr Camp­bell – who had been warned by the event or­gan­is­ers not to ‘bang on about Brexit’ – was ap­par­ently de­lighted with the show of sup­port for the re­main camp.

He ap­peared to in­ter­pret the re­sponse to his re­quest for a show of hands as an in­di­ca­tion that the rest of Bri­tain must also be pes­simistic about Bri­tain’s de­par­ture from Europe. He said: ‘Wow. it is very hard not to want to bang on about Brexit when that is the re­ac­tion. that we are not, in this coun­try, op­ti­mistic about Brexit. lis­ten, that is un­sus­tain­able.’

the episode will do lit­tle to al­lay fears that broad­cast­ers – and the BBC in par­tic­u­lar – are bi­ased against Brexit.

A pow­er­ful, cross-party group of 70 MPs wrote to BBC di­rec­tor gen­eral tony Hall last year, com­plain­ing that the cor­po­ra­tion was heav­ily slanted ‘in favour of those who wish to wa­ter down or even re­verse the ref­er­en­dum de­ci­sion’.

the let­ter, signed by tory MPs Philip Davies and Philip Hol­lobone, labour’s Kate Hoey, Con­ser­va­tive MEP Dan Han­nan and for­mer Ukip leader lord Pear­son, cited re­search by pres­sure group News-Watch which found that ra­dio 4’s Brexit cov­er­age was un­bal­anced.

At the time, lord Hall flatly de­nied any prob­lem. ‘im­par­tial­ity has al­ways been the cor­ner­stone of BBC News. it re­mains so to­day,’ he said.

How­ever, ear­lier this year the Guardian claimed that af­ter the EU ref­er­en­dum lord Hall ‘went round the lon­don din­ner cir­cuit wail­ing that BBC bal­ance had “lost us the elec­tion”.’

Mr Camp­bell also used his speech to make a vi­cious at­tack on Prime Min­is­ter theresa May’s ap­pear­ance, claim­ing she has ‘a touch of the Er­do­gans about the eyes’.

turkey’s au­to­cratic pres­i­dent re­cep Er­do­gan has heavy bags un­der his eyes.

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