AN SNP MP has savaged bosses at the UK’s media watchdog for failing to enforce their own rules on impartiality when it comes to GB News programmes.

Appearing in front of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee at Westminster, Ofcom’s content policy director Kate Biggs and public policy director Kate Davies were grilled by the SNP’s John Nicolson.

On Monday, Ofcom announced that it was investigating whether a single episode of Jacob Rees-Mogg’s programme on GB News and another episode of a news programme presented by Alex Salmond on TalkTV broke broadcasting standards rules.

However, Nicolson demanded answers as to why only a single episode was being investigated given Ofcom rules stating that politicians cannot act as newsreaders unless in “exceptional circumstances”.

“The problem, of course, with Jacob Rees-Mogg’s programme isn’t just a single episode, it’s the ongoing nature of the programme.

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“What your rules actually say is that no politician may be used as a newsreader, interviewer or reporter in any news programme unless exceptionally it is editorially justified.

“There’s a bit of spin going on there from Ofcom, I feel. Your press release said that politicians couldn’t act as newsreaders but your rules actually say that they can’t act as newsreaders or interviewers or reporters.

“And, of course, Mr Mogg, on every single programme that he presents, Monday to Thursday, interviews every day of the week, breaking your rules.”

Davies said that she would not be commenting on specific investigations but did outline the distinction between current affairs programming and news programming in response to Nicolson’s queries.

She said: “There is also a clear distinction between news and current affairs and our rules around due impartiality cover both news and current affairs and we have set out further details in terms of what you might expect in a news programme versus what you might expect in a current affairs programme.”

However, Nicolson insisted that it was clear that Rees-Mogg was presenting a news programme.

“The clue is in the name,” he said. “GB News. It’s a news programme. He does interviews. Now, your rules say that politicians cannot do interviews unless under exceptional circumstances.

“He does interviews every single day. He’s breaching your rules.”

Davies replied: “We don’t judge a programme based on the name of the programme. We judge it based on the content and the way it is treated and how a broadcaster chooses to adhere – or not – to the due impartiality and due accuracy rules.”

Nicolson then repeated comments made by Ofcom’s former group director Kevin Bakhurst.

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“You cannot, according to Mr Bakhurst, speak directly to camera,” he said. “If you do that, it’s then a news show not a current affairs show.”

Nicolson then showed the Ofcom bosses a screenshot of Rees-Mogg directly speaking to the camera during one of his GB News broadcasts.

“There is Mr Mogg speaking directly to the camera. He does this everyday.

“Kevin Bakhurst lists in his blog a number of rules that will make a programme a news programme rather than a current affairs programme.

“The first one is Mr Mogg speaking directly to the camera. I’ve just shown you Mr Mogg speaking directly to the camera with a scrolling news bar underneath.

“That’s the grammar of a news programme, would you accept that?”

Kate Biggs said it would be “inappropriate” for them to comment on an ongoing investigation.

When asked why an Ofcom investigation into Tory MPs Philip Davies and Esther McVey’s interview of Jeremy Hunt on GB News was taking so long, Davies once again refused to comment.

“I’m not going to comment on a live case but we are progressing as quickly as we are able to,” she said.

“We’re taking the time we need to make that decision.”

Nicolson blasted Ofcom for taking “far too long” to enforce their own rules.

“There’s no more egregious breach of your rules than a Tory chancellor being interviewed by Tory MPs. And that programme trailed on a news channel by the Treasury.

“We’ve just lost all sight of objective journalism. And it’s your guys job to enforce the rules and you’re not doing it.

“And we’re going to proceed down a route until we end up with awful American-style ranting at the camera all masquerading as news.”