FORMER BBC journalist Jon Sopel has said the BBC “ducked” reporting on the full consequences of Brexit after it was accused of having a bias in favour of the UK staying in the EU. 

In an interview with The Observer, Sopel recalled being on a trip to the UK with Barack Obama, who was flying over to influence the Brexit vote.

Sopel was asked by a BBC editor why his report did not mention Nigel Farage, who was then the leader of Ukip. 

Sopel, formerly the BBC's North America editor, told the paper: “I said: 'I don’t think Nigel Farage was on the plane'.”

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The Observer interview was conducted with Emily Maitlis, with whom Sopel hosts a daily news podcast for Global – the group behind LBC and Classic FM. 

The BBC has previously come under fire in the past for its coverage of Brexit and the impact it has had on the UK. 

The SNP’s president Michael Russell took issue with an article titled “What is the UK’s inflation rate and why is the cost of living going up?”

The article said that surging energy bills were linked to the war in Ukraine and that rising petrol prices and increasing food costs were some of the reasons behind inflation but failed to mention Brexit. 

Former No 10 communications boss Alastair Campbell previously told The National that there may have been “some sort of policy decision” to reduce the mention of Brexit in the broadcaster’s reporting.

In another story published in February, the BBC reported on the “major staff recruitment and retention challenges” facing NHS Scotland but once again failed to mention Brexit. 

The National: Emily Maitlis was critical of the BBC's approach to impartialityEmily Maitlis was critical of the BBC's approach to impartiality

This was despite the Audit Scotland document which was the basis of the report explicitly highlighting how it and previous reports showed “the UK’s departure from the EU could further reduce the pool of workers available.”

Emily Maitlis had several run-ins with BBC management regarding impartiality, the most controversial of which came when she said Dominic Cummings had broken lockdown rules. 

She was reprimanded by the broadcaster but told the Press Gazette that it was never explained to her what was inaccurate about her comments. 

She told The Observer: “I get nervous when impartiality is used as a way of shutting down journalists. 

“Is it because you were asking questions you shouldn’t have been? I don’t think that’s impartiality – that’s censorship.

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“And if your journalism is going to suffer by staying somewhere where you cannot ask those questions, what are you doing, right?”

Maitlis is just one of a number of high-profile names to depart the BBC recently. 

Veteran journalist Andrew Marr also left to join LBC as he said he wanted to get his “own voice back” as a writer and presenter. 

Newsnight's former policy editor Lewis Goodall also left the BBC to join Global. 

The BBC director-general Tim Davie has made impartiality a priority since taking on the role in 2020. 

He introduced stricter social media rules for presenters, while the corporation has also launched thematic reviews of content to test impartiality. 

The BBC were approached but said they had no comment on the matter.