DUP MP Gregory Campbell accuses BBC presenter Stephen Nolan of 'corrupting recruitment process'

BBC presenter Stephen Nolan has been accused of "corrupting" a BBC job recruitment process.

DUP MP Gregory Campbell made the allegations during a debate on BBC Commissioning in the House of Commons.

Responding, the BBC said Mr Nolan did not sit on interview panels for BBC jobs. It said recruitment was decided on by those panel members and it would "consider carefully any evidence Mr Campbell might want to share with us".

"The BBC is committed to filling vacancies in line with employment law and best practice," the broadcaster said.

In a Westminster Hall debate on Tuesday, Mr Campbell said: "To work on the programme was a highly prized and much thought after position, indeed it is clear by the fact that a number of notable people in the Northern Ireland media sector applied for the role. "Only one person was successful, while at least 10 other internal, as well as external candidates lost out." Addressing the debate chair, Laurence Robertson, Mr Campbell further alleged: "The process was rigged, It wasn't fair and it lacked integrity." The MP continued: "Because the unsuccessful applicants did not lose out necessarily because they were unprepared for the interview process. "They lost out because unlike the winning candidate, the presenter did not ring them up and give them the interview questions in advance, nor were they treated to a nice meal by the presenter before the interview." Mr Campbell alleged: "This former BBC employee is prepared to come before this house and testify in committee that Stephen Nolan corrupted a BBC recruitment process by giving one applicant the interview questions in advance and coaching them on how they should answer questions." The DUP representative said that former employee wrote to the then BBC Northern Ireland Director, Peter Johnston alleging he "told him about this corruption of process, and he is unaware of any investigation or action". "Mr chairman the alarming thing is that the same Mr Peter Johnson now leads the investigation into the complaints into Russell Brand," he added. The Conservative Minister of State for Media, John Whittingdale, said the allegations "would need to be investigated," although he added it was not a matter for the government. Stephen Nolan is the BBC's fifth highest paid presenter and is paid between £400,000–£404,999 a year. As well as a daily Radio Ulster programme he presents Nolan Live on television and has made a series of documentaries for the broadcaster.

In a statement, the BBC said: "The BBC is committed to filling vacancies in line with employment law and best practice. "Mr Campbell's allegation appears to refer to a BBC recruitment process in 2016. "Stephen Nolan does not sit on interview panels for BBC staff jobs, including for this role, and decisions are made solely by the panel members. "We will, of course, consider carefully any evidence Mr Campbell might want to share with us and take seriously the need to protect the fairness and integrity of our recruitment processes," the statement added. Attempts have been made to contact Mr Nolan's production company, Third Street Studios as well as Mr Nolan.

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