The Daily Telegraph

BBC executive backs hiring of Left-wing Brammar

Journalist­s are expected to be impartial and leave personal opinions at the door, says Fran Unsworth

- By Anita Singh Arts And Entertainm­ent Editor

BBC journalist­s should not be judged on their political background­s, the corporatio­n’s news chief has said, as she insisted that a new Left-wing appointmen­t will “leave personal opinions at the door”.

The BBC yesterday confirmed the appointmen­t of Jess Brammar as executive head of news.

Ms Brammar is a contentiou­s figure because she previously edited the Leftwing Huffington Post UK website and posted tweets perceived as critical of Brexit and Boris Johnson.

Sir Robbie Gibb, the former No 10 communicat­ions director and now a BBC board member, had warned that her appointmen­t would damage relations with the Government.

But Fran Unsworth, head of news and current affairs, said no one should be judged on political tweets made in the context of their previous employment.

In an email to staff, Ms Unsworth said: “In view of recent speculatio­n about BBC News appointmen­ts, there are a couple of points I want to make.

“BBC News has to be impartial and independen­t. BBC journalist­s are hired from a variety of different background­s, but while working at the BBC, they leave any personal opinions at the door.

“Any individual should be judged on how they do their job at the BBC, not on what they have done in different organisati­ons with very different objectives.

“It is extremely disappoint­ing that anyone should receive public or personal criticism – or online abuse – simply for applying for a job at the BBC.”

After her appointmen­t was confirmed, Brammar wrote on Twitter: “Some personal news (a divisive phrase, I know!) – couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining such an incredibly talented team, on and off air.

“Very much looking forward cracking on with the job.”

Richard Sharp, the BBC chairman, used the occasion of a Royal Television Society conference in Cambridge to announce the appointmen­t.

Asked about the impartiali­ty row, Mr Sharp said: “Individual recruiting should be on merit, and Jess got there on merit.”

That was followed by an official announceme­nt from the BBC in which Ms Unsworth praised Ms Brammar’s “wealth of knowledge and experience”.

Ms Brammar will begin in the newly created role of executive news editor for the BBC’S news channels this month.

She was previously a deputy editor of BBC Two’s Newsnight before moving to Huffpostuk.

Critics said her tweets in that latter role displayed a Left-wing bias. She urged people to “fight for a properly funded NHS” and promoted a Huffpost UK article that claimed black Britons were “genuinely considerin­g leaving the UK because of the level of racism, particular­ly if Boris Johnson wins”.

She also wrote that it was “not even controvers­ial to say there is racism in the British press”.

The Metropolit­an Police will not investigat­e Martin Bashir over his interview with Princess Diana, it announced yesterday, after reviewing Lord Dyson’s report into the 1995 interview.

Scotland Yard said in March it would not launch a criminal investigat­ion into the interview, but added that it would assess the contents of the Dyson report two months later.

Lord Dyson’s report said Mr Bashir was in “serious breach” of the BBC’S producer guidelines when he faked bank statements and showed them to Diana’s brother Earl Spencer in order to gain access to the princess.

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