TWO top SNP figures have officially complained to the BBC over its coverage of the party in this week's key Brexit debates.

A joint letter from SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford and depute SNP leader Keith Brown sets out their concerns.

READ MORE: BBC accused of deliberately failing Scotland as SNP launch complaints

Below is the full text of a letter sent by the SNP pair to the BBC.


Dear Ms Unsworth,

We wish to raise two formal complaints under the system adopted by the BBC following the new Royal Charter and Agreement with the Secretary of State in 2016.

First that BBC news and current affairs programming falls below the standards expressed in the BBC’s Editorial Guidelines.

Second that the BBC is in breach of its mission and responsibility to serve the interests of licence fee payers in all parts of the UK in equal measure.

So far this week we have seen three consistent and deliberate editorial decisions taken to cut off parliamentary coverage on News Specials from the moment Ian Blackford spoke in the House of Commons. The consequence of these editorial decisions is to relegate the third party at Westminster - which within the UK constitution brings specific roles, responsibilities and obligations - from BBC programming likely to reach an audience share of 22.25 per cent on BBC One (plus a further 1.05 per cent on the BBC News channel) to an audience share of 0.06 per cent on BBC Parliament.

This pattern of behaviour follows recent research and media reports which revealed that Newsnight did not feature a single SNP politician in the entirety of February.

And in January, the revelation that Politics Live had just two SNP guest slots out of a total of 79 guest slots.

We would like to understand how the BBC believe they are serving the audience in Scotland in each of these examples.

Therefore, regarding our first complaint, it is our contention that BBC coverage of Westminster parliamentary business is suggestive of a deliberate policy of BBC editors and managers to demote the status of the third party at Westminster because that party represents only Scotland.

Regarding our second complaint, we contend that the under-representation of the SNP from flagship programmes such as Politics Live and Newsnight provide evidence of a continuing failure by the BBC - set out over a decade ago in the highly critical King Report - to serve all audiences in the UK in equal measures.

We look forward to receiving your response to both complaints.

Keith Brown MSP, Depute Leader

Rt Hon Ian Blackford, Westminster Leader