Ofcom launches investigation into alleged rule breach by Labour's David Lammy

By John Mercury April 8, 2024

A radio show hosted by shadow foreign secretary David Lammy is being investigated by Ofcom after it received more than 50 complaints.

The broadcasting watchdog said it was looking into whether the programme that aired on LBC on Good Friday “broke our rules on politicians acting as news presenters”.

The Labour frontbencher has hosted a Sunday morning show on the station since 2022 after a number of appearances covering for other presenters, and regularly stands in on Bank Holidays.

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The MPs’ register of financial interests shows Mr Lammy earns around £1,000 per episode, with his latest entry seeing him paid £5,460 for five shows in January.

And alongside a number of other speaking commitments, he is often cited as the highest-paid Labour MP for his work outside of parliament.

Ofcom confirmed on its website that 53 complaints had been made about the specific show on 29 March.

During the broadcast, Mr Lammy broke the news that DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson had resigned as head of the party after he was charged with historical sexual offences – charges he is understood to be “strenuously contesting”.

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A growing number of politicians have begun to host their own TV and radio shows in recent years, with the likes of Labour’s Angela Rayner and Wes Streeting appearing on LBC, and Reform MP Lee Anderson becoming a weekly fixture on GB News.

In March, Ofcom found five programmes on that channel – two hosted by ex-business secretary and Tory MP Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, and three jointly hosted by Tory minister Esther McVey and backbencher Philip Davies – had breached its impartiality rules.

Jacob Rees-Mogg during the launch of the Popular Conservatism movement.
Pic: PA
Image:
Jacob Rees-Mogg hosts a TV show on GB News. Pic: PA

Under the Broadcasting Code, the watchdog says news must be presented with due impartiality and “a politician cannot be a newsreader, news interviewer or news reporter unless, exceptionally, there is editorial justification”.

GB News has now been put on notice that it could face a statuary sanction if it breaches the rules again, which could involve a financial penalty or having its licence suspended or revoked.

Sky News has contacted the Labour Party and Mr Lammy for comment.

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