A former BBC newsreader called on one of the news group’s journalists to issue an apology to Nigel Farage for inaccurately reporting on the nature of the former Ukip leader’s banking debacle with Coutts. The journalist ultimately did apologize.
The Times reported that Nicholas Owen, 76, suggested that Simon Jack, the BBC’s business editor, address the inaccurate statements he made about the nature of Farage’s relationship with Coutts. Jack had apparently claimed Farage was dismissed from the bank because he did not meet the wealth threshold.
However, it was later confirmed that Farage was barred from the bank over political views that were determined to not align with the bank’s values. The report noted that the night before Jack’s story was published, he sat next to Dame Alison Rose, the chief executive of NatWest group, for dinner. NatWest group owns Coutts.
“Simon Jack is a jolly good journalist, jolly good at his job, and if he sits next to a banker who gives him a line on the Nigel Farage story, well of course he’s going to go with that, it’s a jolly good source,” Owen said. “But if that source turns out to be wrong, the facts are simply the other way round as Nigel himself has now discovered in great detail, then for goodness’ sake, just put your hands up. Simon, come on lad, just say, ‘Sorry, got that wrong.’”
The Times reported that the BBC amended its previous story on Nigel Farage, acknowledging it had made a mistake. Additionally, Farage has contacted Tim Davie, director-general of the BBC, demanding a formal apology for the “humiliating” publicity Farage had to endure as a result of the outlet’s story about him.
Farage’s lawyers have also written to the Information Commissioner, requesting an investigation into the sharing of financial details with the BBC.