Ofcom launches investigation into GB News programme with Rishi Sunak after complaints

The Prime Minister took questions from members of the public on a range of issues Credit: PA

Ofcom has launched an investigation into whether a GB News programme where the prime minister took questions from the public breached impartiality rules.

The programme saw Rishi Sunak take questions from the public in a live Q&A in Co Durham on February 12, and has prompted about 500 complaints.

Ofcom's rules say when big political issues are being discussed broadcasters must feature a wide range of significant views.

The regulator released a statement on X, stating: “We are investigating under rules 5.11 and 5.12 of the Broadcasting Code which provide additional due impartiality requirements for programmes dealing with matters of major political controversy and major matters relating to current public policy."

In the statement Ofcom added that those rules "require that an appropriately wide range of significant views must be included and given due weight in such programmes, or in clearly linked and timely programmes”.

Mr Sunak's spokesperson said he doesn't regret appearing on the programme: "the prime minister undertakes interviews from a range of broadcasters, outlets and other media.

“Media appearances such as the one he conducted last week are an important part of the democratic process.”

He added: "This is obviously a matter for Ofcom, who's rightly an independent regulator."

No politicians from other parties appeared on the programme alongside Mr Sunak, and the Labour Party weren't given an opportunity to respond on the programme to comments by the prime minister.

However, presenter Stephen Dixon said during the programme they had invited Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to appear in another 'People's Forum' on the channel.

The Ofcom code states that the "wide range" of views can be expressed in other programmes as part of a channel's scheduling, as long as they are "clearly linked and timely".

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During the broadcast, Mr Dixon said the questions to be asked by undecided voters had not been seen in advance by the prime minister or by GB News.

GB News is currently being investigated by Ofcom for a number of other shows, including many over impartiality issues.

The issue of political figures such as Conservative MPs Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg and former Conservative deputy chairman Lee Anderson presenting topical programmes has also been contentious.

Former pensions minister Esther McVey and backbencher Philip Davies have also been presenters on GB News, and former culture secretary Nadine Dorries began hosting a programme on TalkTV before she quit as an MP.

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary David Lammy also hosts a show on LBC.

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