BBC journalists working on the independence referendum in 2014 lacked “in-depth knowledge” about Scotland and had “a lack of sympathy” for Scottish independence.

This criticism has often been voiced by pro-independence supporters but these latest comments were made by a former BBC staffer, Alistair Burnett, who was involved in the referendum coverage.

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His statements are contained in a special report by the Scottish Centre on European Relations (SCER) and echo the remarks made by veteran BBC journalist Allan Little in a recent BBC documentary about the 2014 referendum.

The section on the media in the SCER report was written by journalist and broadcaster Burnett, who has since left the BBC to work for a major international organisation.

He told The National that in addition to his comments in the report, The Future of Europe: Disruption, Continuity And Change, he also felt the BBC had made a mistake in sending correspondents based in London to cover the referendum campaign in Scotland.

Burnett’s statements have caused SNP depute leader Keith Brown to renew the party’s call for the BBC to address its “persistent failings” in coverage of Scottish affairs.

In the SCER report, Burnett wrote: “In terms of public service broadcasting, the BBC faces its most critical audiences in Scotland, where levels of dissatisfaction with the public broadcaster are higher than elsewhere in the UK.

“This dissatisfaction with the BBC increased during the independence campaign, as the broadcaster was perceived by independence supporters to be failing in its duty to be impartial.

“I was still working at a senior level in BBC News in London at the time and, although I never saw deliberate bias, a lack of in-depth knowledge about Scotland and a lack of sympathy for Scottish independence among many BBC staff were clear and mistakes in coverage were made.”

The National: SNP depute leader Keith Brown called on BBC bosses to be more transparentSNP depute leader Keith Brown called on BBC bosses to be more transparent

Little had revealed the ignorance of some BBC staff in London during the independence campaign. As The National reported, he said in the documentary that some of his colleagues believed “that our responsibility was to produce a series of pieces to demonstrate how foolish it would be to vote Yes”.

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Burnett was unwilling to go into detail about his experiences but The National has established from other sources that one BBC staffer wanted to ask former First Minister Alex Salmond if he would fire Trident missiles – it was pointed out that the SNP’s policy has long been to get rid of Trident and all nuclear weapons.

Burnett did tell The National: “I think it was a mistake to send the London Westminster-based correspondents up to Scotland rather than use the people there who in my view did know what they were talking about, such as Brian Taylor. “

SNP depute leader Brown said: “These comments by Alistair Burnett follow on from what Allan Little said about the BBC’s reporting of the 2014 referendum and are true of the BBC’s ongoing problem with covering Scotland properly.

“Twenty years on from the opening of the Scottish Parliament, 11 years on from the King Report and yet still the BBC network regularly falls short when it comes to reporting not just from Scotland but across the nations and regions.

“The corporation’s London-centric view persists. It is vital that the BBC addresses these persistent failings.

“The corporation bosses in London need to be transparent as to how it plans to improve if it is to stand a chance of winning back the trust that they themselves admit they have lost.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “Our audiences in Scotland told us that they wanted more relevant content and that’s why we launched both a new channel, that includes a new daily news programme, and increased the number of network programmes made in Scotland for viewers across the UK.

“That annual £40m investment is the biggest in a generation and we believe it will better serve audiences as well as boost the creative sector in Scotland.”