Birmingham City Council deputy leader Paul Tisley has lodged a complaint with the BBC after taking exception to the way his remarks were edited in a pre-recorded programme about Government spending cuts.
Coun Tilsley, a Liberal Democrat, said he didn’t think that BBC Midlands Today’s Spending Review Debate was balanced or fair.
It is understood Coun Tilsley’s objections are based largely on the small amount of air time given to him in the finished programme. He claims to have been given little opportunity to make contributions during the recording.
The complaint includes a claim that he was not given the chance to develop arguments and was portrayed by editors of the programme as doing little more than interjecting and chipping in, while other panel members, including Labour and Tory West Midlands council leaders, were given many chances to speak.
Coun Tilsley will meet executives at the BBC’s Mailbox headquarters in Birmingham at the end of the month to discuss his concerns.
Presented by Midland TV personality Nick Owen, the debate featured several high-profile figures including Digby, Lord Jones of Birmingham, automotive expert Professor David Bailey from Coventry University and the Bishop of Birmingham, the Rt Rev David Urquhart.
Coun Tilsley (Lib Dem Sheldon) said: “My understanding was that the BBC had an obligation to be fair, objective and balanced.”
A BBC spokesman said: “I can confirm that we have received a complaint about this programme. Until we have had a meeting it would be inappropriate to comment further.”
It’s not the first time that Coun Tilsley has fallen out with the makers of a television programme. In 2006, he complained to Biztv after being interviewed for the station’s Now You’re Talking series profiling West Midlands executives.
The interview caused a row when, in an unscreened tape, Coun Tilsley suggested the people of the Elan Valley in Mid-Wales should give recognition to Birmingham for building huge reservoirs and flooding pasture land in 1907.
But Coun Tilsley was challenged by the chairman of an Elan Valley heritage organisation, who described his remarks as a “very questionable interpretation of history”.