The BBC got “very close to looking like a state mouthpiece” during the Covid pandemic, Martin Lewis has claimed. The consumer champion warned it was not “particularly good for trust” in the broadcaster.
Mr Lewis made the comments as he gave evidence to MPs this morning on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) sub-committee on Online Harms and Disinformation.
Labour MP Clive Efford asked the MoneySavingExpert.com founder about trust in news outlets such as the BBC.
Mr Efford said: “Do you think during Covid when the message from the Government is just repeated that those trusted sources begin to be undermined in terms of being a trusted source because they’re being turned into mouthpieces of the establishment?”
Mr Lewis replied: “We did get very close, I think some of the BBC coverage during the pandemic, it felt like at every turn we were being told what was important for us which was a repeat of the Government message.
“I don’t think the message was necessarily wrong but I do feel that the continued repetition did get it very close to looking like a state mouthpiece which I think isn’t particularly good for trust.”
During the appearance, Mr Lewis also told MPs he’d been rejected twice for a crossbench peerage.
He said: “I did apply on the appointments system for crossbench at the House of Lords.
“I have been rejected twice, I don’t think I’m going to apply again, two rejections is enough for anybody.
“I won’t ever take a party whip, I don’t think that’s right for what I do, I never allow anyone to tell me what to say.
“So I did think about it, I thought it would be a useful thing to do, but they decided it wasn’t the right thing to happen and I’m not sure I really want it so much now.”
During the session, Mr Lewis also discussed trust in politics.
He said: “The problem with politicians isn’t necessarily the individuals, it is the system.
“I mean first of all, the biggest things that lack trust, collective Cabinet responsibility and the whip are instinctively against every form of trust.
“You will vote for something that you do not believe in.
“Transparency, openness and honesty is important.
“And I think an attempt to be unbiased. I say an attempt because we all has biases, it is impossible not to be biased.”