Politics Ofcom investigates David Lammy's radio show over potential breach...

Ofcom investigates David Lammy's radio show over potential breach of broadcasting rules

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A radio show hosted by David Lammy is being investigated by Ofcom over a possible breach of broadcasting rules, the communications watchdog has announced.

Ofcom said it was investigating whether the LBC programme on Good Friday “broke our rules on politicians acting as news presenters”.

It received more than 50 complaints over the March 29 episode of the shadow foreign secretary’s weekly phone-in programme.

On the show, Mr Lammy announced Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s resignation as the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader live on air.

In the complained-about segment, he read a statement from the DUP that said Sir Jeffery had been charged with “allegations of a historical nature” and he would be “stepping down with immediate effect in accordance with the party rules”.

Mr Lammy said: “The party offices have suspended Mr Donaldson from membership pending the outcome of a judicial process.” He then told listeners that the DUP had appointed Gavin Robinson as its new leader, adding: “That’s a big, big development.”

In a statement, the watchdog said: “We’ve launched an investigation into David Lammy on LBC, broadcast on March 29. We’re investigating whether this programme broke our rules on politicians acting as news presenters.”

Ofcom yet to provide further details

Mr Lammy, the Labour MP for Tottenham, has hosted a Sunday morning show with the station since 2022. Ofcom has not yet provided any further details about the reasons behind the investigation or the subject of the 51 complaints received.

The communications watchdog has previously looked into programmes hosted by politicians on the GB News television channel.

Five programmes, including those hosted by Sir Jacob-Rees Mogg and shows jointly presented by the Conservative minister Esther McVey and the Tory MP Philip Davies, were found to have breached Ofcom’s impartiality rules.

The watchdog’s rules on due impartiality state: “No politician may be used as a newsreader, interviewer or reporter in any news programmes unless, exceptionally, it is editorially justified. In that case, the political allegiance of that person must be made clear to the audience.”

Announcing its findings into GB News, Ofcom said that if a channel uses a politician as a presenter “in a programme containing both news and current affairs content, it must take steps to ensure they do not act as a newsreader, news interviewer or news reporter in that programme”.

The broadcaster has been “put on notice” that it may be sanctioned if it commits any further breaches.

On Monday, the watchdog also issued a warning to TalkTV after “potentially highly offensive comments” were made by the presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer during an interview with the general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative.

Ofcom said it issued “strong guidance” to the channel “on the need to take greater care to ensure that potentially highly offensive comments are justified by the context”, but has decided not to launch an investigation.

Mr Lammy and Hartley-Brewer have been approached for comment.

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