THE BBC has been urged to issue an on-air correction after “fake news” on Reporting Scotland.

It comes after the programme, shown on BBC Scotland on Thursday night, saw a journalist report: "In most UK elections, Scottish votes have been crucial to deciding who takes power. Will it be any different this time around?"

However, a House of Commons report from 2010 underlines that this is not the case.

Counting every General Election between 1945 and the present day, just four would have had a different result if Scotland’s votes were not included.

In 1964, Labour won a majority. Without Scotland, the Tories would have been the largest party, but without a majority.

The two elections of 1974 saw Scottish votes make Labour the largest party. And in 2010, if Scottish votes had not been included, the Tories would have had a majority without needing LibDem support.

After the BBC journalist’s assertion, polling expert Professor John Curtice spoke to say that it was unclear whether Scottish votes would be “necessary” for Keir Starmer’s Labour to win a majority.

The British Polling Council president (below) said: “Labour may be sufficiently far ahead that what they get in Scotland may simply add to their majority rather than create it in the first place.”

The National:

Calling out the BBC reporter's comment on social media, Alba general secretary Chris McEleny said it was “completely fake news”.

He went on: “Scottish seats have not controlled the balance of power in a UK election in my lifetime. I am sure you will be happy to correct this and not intentionally mislead the electorate?”

Speaking to the National, McEleny said the BBC should make clear that its reporter’s assertion was closer to a Labour political slogan than reality.

“The claim may simply have been an error, but if not then it’s the same sort of line that the Labour Party will be parroting in the run up to the General Election,” he said.

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“Hundreds of thousands of people watch the BBC news in Scotland and trust that the news they receive is accurate. This clearly isn’t. The only way Scotland will ever be able to truly influence the Government’s we vote for is with independence.

“Now I don’t expect the BBC to make that clear, but at the very least they should be making clear on air that their General Election claims weren’t just accurate but that the facts speak to the opposite.”

An SNP spokesperson said: “Under the Westminster system, the Tories have not won an election in Scotland since 1955 and yet they have been in power for the vast majority of that time.

“As a result, Scotland has suffered under damaging policies like austerity and a hard Brexit; which have been forced upon us despite the fact that we repeatedly voted against them.”

A BBC spokesperson stood by the report.

“In his report, our correspondent was exploring an important and relevant question – namely the potential importance of the election campaign in Scotland to the UK-wide results," they said. "It led into a clip from Professor Sir John Curtice who offered expert analysis on that point.

“During the piece our correspondent simply articulated the view that Scottish votes in UK General Elections have been crucial not only in determining which party gets a majority but also the scale of victory and the ability of UK governments to hold and wield power over time.

"The importance of Scottish votes and voters in UK General Elections is seen by the resources devoted by all the major parties to winning seats here.”

As The National reported late in 2023, last year BBC Scotland issued more corrections than all of the BBC's other national and regional UK broadcasting arms combined.