BBC supports Laura Kuenssberg’s defence of Dominic Cummings


THE BBC has defended Laura Kuenssberg over complaints she defended Dominic Cummings over his 250-mile trip from London to Durham during lockdown. 

On Friday night, the broadcaster’s political editor Kuenssberg publicly responded to the Mirror’s political editor Pippa Crerar, who had posted the story to her own Twitter profile, appearing to correct facts in the article in accordance with what she had heard from her own unnamed “source”.

Source says his trip was within guidelines as Cummings went to stay with his parents so they could help with childcare while he and his wife were ill – they insist no breach of lockdown
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) May 22, 2020

“Source says his trip was within guidelines as Cummings went to stay with his parents so they could help with childcare while he and his wife were ill – they insist no breach of lockdown,” Kuenssberg tweeted.

READ MORE: Dominic Cummings: Laura Kuenssberg defends senior adviser

The BBC has said today that it received complaints over the tweet – it has not revealed how many, but enough to warrant a public response in its section for “significant complaints of wide audience concern”.

The broadcaster said Kuenssberg was “simply reporting information from a source”.

The BBC said in a statement: “As the BBC’s political editor, Laura Kuenssberg’s role is to provide our audiences with an impartial analysis of key political developments, based on her knowledge and expert judgment, and she often uses social media as a tool in her day to day work.

“We don’t consider that Laura was tweeting in defence of Dominic Cummings. Laura was simply reporting information from a source, and we believe this was clearly stated in her tweet.

“A key part of Laura’s job is to reflect views from many different parties in any given news story, which she did throughout her reporting and in her Twitter posts, during Friday evening and the rest of the weekend.

“This was clearly a big news story that was unfolding quickly, and we believe Laura reflected a lot of different views, whilst also establishing the facts and accurately reporting the many details of the story.”

READ MORE: Laura Kuenssberg listed as ‘Chief Press Officer’ of Westminster on Wikipedia

The BBC’s editorial guidelines, reviewed last year, contain guidance on social media usage, including that staff “should avoid bringing the BBC into disrepute through their actions” online and must “take particular care” to maintain the BBC’s impartiality, even on personal accounts.

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