More than 500 complaints over interview where Nick Robinson said 'stop talking' to PM

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The BBC received more than 500 complaints about bias against Boris Johnson (right) in an interview by Nick Robinson (left). (Getty)
The BBC received more than 500 complaints about bias against Boris Johnson (right) in an interview by Nick Robinson (left). (Getty)

A BBC radio interview in which Boris Johnson was told to "stop talking" sparked hundreds of complaints about bias by the broadcaster.

Complaints figures published by the BBC show that the corporation received 558 complaints of bias against the Prime Minister following the interview on Radio 4's Today Programme by presenter Nick Robinson

During the interview, which aired on 5 October, Robinson told Johnson: "Prime Minister, stop talking. We are going to have questions and answers, not where you merely talk if you wouldn't mind."

At one point he also told the PM: "you are going to pause".

Political commentator and tough interviewer Andrew Marr is still in the top 10 at number 7 despite seeing his salary cut to £390,000 – £394,999. (Credit: Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
The BBC also received complaints of bias over an interview with Boris Johnson by Andrew Marr. (Getty)

The interview was criticised by MPs as being rude, and came just days after an interview with Johnson by Andrew Marr also sparked 376 complaints of bias.

In a response on the interview by Robinson on the Today programme, the BBC said: "In a live interview presenters have to judge how far to press for direct answers before moving the interview on.

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"There was certainly no desire to appear rude and post broadcast, and on reflection, Nick Robinson himself would have preferred to have used different language.

"Having said that, Nick Robinson covered a wide range of topics within a short space of time with the Prime Minister, who was able to set out his points on the issues raised."

The BBC also published a response regarding the Andrew Marr interview, saying viewers had felt it was "aggressive, and he was interrupted too much".

It said: "There were many issues covered in the interview with the Prime Minister, such as violence against women, the HGV driver shortage and the National Insurance Tax rise, and so it was imperative for Mr Marr to keep the conversation on track in order to have time for them all.

"Sometimes Mr Marr repeated his question to press the Prime Minister into giving a clear answer for the audience.

"As Prime Minister, Mr Johnson is no stranger to robust and challenging interviews, and we consider it is appropriate to hold the leader of the nation to account on different issues.

"However we’re satisfied that Mr Marr questioned Mr Johnson in a fair, duly impartial and professional manner."

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