BBC Scotland has been accused of ignoring a major split in Scottish Labour for more than 24 hours this week.

After leader Keir Starmer announced his party would not be getting rid of the two-child benefit cap – a decision that was backed by Scottish party chief Anas Sarwar - Labour MSPs including Monica Lennon, Mercedes Villalba and Paul Sweeney were quick to condemn the move.

Lennon called on party members to fight against Starmer’s agenda, while Villalba said Labour “must be a party of principle”, pointing out Starmer was elected on a pledge to scrap the cap.

Sweeney said the cap must be ditched and argued it would be cost-effective despite claims from Sarwar the policy would risk a repeat of the disastrous Liz Truss mini-budget.

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But BBC Scotland has come under fire for its “radio silence” on the issue for more than 24 hours.

The original announcement by Starmer was made on the BBC’s Sunday Show with Laura Kuenssberg, but pro-independence group Believe in Scotland has highlighted how BBC Scotland did not cover the immediate fallout while other outlets did.

Believe in Scotland said STV covered the row in the party as the second item on its 6pm news show - with Colin Mackay describing it as a “seismic issue” for Labour in Scotland - while several Scottish newspapers also gave it prominence.

A post by Believe in Scotland said: "Viewers of BBC Scotland’s news coverage on TV, radio and their website early this week heard nothing about a major rift in the Scottish Labour ranks for more than 24 hours. There was a bizarre radio silence on the issue from them.

“Rather than discuss the major Scottish political news story of the week, BBC Scotland’s news operation attempted to ignore it. 

“Those who are accustomed to BBC Scotland’s highly-detailed coverage of differences in the SNP’s ranks took to social media to ask why Scottish Labour doesn’t face the same treatment – especially as the other news outlets made different choices. 

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“With this U-turn, Labour revealed itself as a party that is closely focused on appealing to middle England. The decision must have been taken in response to polling showing there is no real appetite from the majority of voters down south to repeal this policy.

“That is a very different story in Scotland, where the Conservative vote is small. Most Scots object to the hated ‘rape clause’, which affects mainly families in low paid work, or who lose their jobs. They want to see it repealed. 

“Scotland and England continue to diverge politically. But broadcasting is not devolved – it is under  the control of Westminster.

“Instead of an independent Scottish broadcaster which can report on issues of importance to Scots, with this 24 hour silence , BBC Scotland yet again revealed itself - like Scottish Labour - as a branch office of a London-run network.”

By Tuesday, as the row continued to grow, BBC Scotland began covering the story more, with SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn and Scottish Labour depute leader Jackie Baillie featuring on Good Morning Scotland.

The two-child benefit cap – introduced by George Osborne in 2017 – has been repeatedly blamed for pushing families into poverty with them only able to claim benefits for their first two children.

John Dickie, director of the Child Poverty Action Group, said the two-child benefit cap has already pushed 250,000 children across the UK into poverty – with 15,000 of those in Scotland alone.

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation calculates it has increased large family child poverty to 50%.

The BBC said: "‘It is nonsense to suggest this story was not extensively covered by BBC Scotland.

"Our reporting over the last three days has included the lead item on Reporting Scotland, a discussion on Monday’s Good Morning Scotland (GMS) as well as an interview with Monica Lennon on Wednesday’s edition, and also online pieces."