BBC Bosses Rule Nigel Lawson Should Have Been Censored By Radio 4

  • Date: 29/06/14
  • David Rose, Mail on Sunday

The BBC has ruled that a radio debate about climate change involving former Chancellor of the Exchequer Lord Lawson should have been censored – as he did not agree with flawed global warming computer predictions. Fraser Steel, head of the BBC complaints unit, said a Radio 4 Today programme about the causes of last winter’s storms should never have been broadcast.

The move has huge implications for future coverage, implying that ‘sceptics’ will be gagged. 

The BBC has ruled that a radio debate about climate change involving former Chancellor of the Exchequer Lord Lawson, pictured, should have been censored

The BBC has ruled that a radio debate about climate change involving former Chancellor of the Exchequer Lord Lawson, pictured, should have been censored 

And it has been widely condemned by MPs, with Peter Lilley, a Tory member of the Commons Energy and Climate Change Select Committee, saying it shows the BBC is ‘afraid of letting a single critic point out  that the climate change emperor has no clothes’.

His Labour colleague Graham Stringer said: ‘This is a form of censorship.’ 

Citing the bogus claim that the MMR jab causes autism, which was exploded by investigative journalists, he added: ‘After all, it is often non-specialists who prove the specialists wrong.’

Lord Lawson, the chairman of sceptic think-tank the Global Warming Policy Foundation, was invited to discuss last winter’s floods on the Today programme in February.

The move by the BBC has huge implications for future coverage, implying that climate change ‘sceptics’ will be gagged

The former Chancellor often appears on Radio 4 to talk about economics, but this was the first time he had been allowed to discuss climate change.

He argued that there was no evidence to prove that the violent storms were caused by global warming – a conclusion later endorsed by the Met Office.

However, Bob Ward, a climate change spokesman from the Grantham Institute, complained that the debate created a ‘false balance’ between scientists and sceptics.

And in his ruling, Mr Steel said: ‘A false balance should not be created between well-established fact and opinion.  Lord Lawson’s views are not supported by evidence from computer modelling.’

Mr Ward responded to the ruling by calling for ‘necessary precautions’ to ensure that experts are on hand to ‘correct any errors’ if climate change sceptics are allowed on air.

But Lord Lawson said Mr Steel’s ruling was ‘completely absurd’, adding: ‘The BBC’s position is quite extraordinary. They are now saying that only alarmism is acceptable.’

And Dr Richard Betts, head of the Met Office Climate Impacts section, said: ‘Unlike the person who complained to the 

Mail on Sunday, 29 June 2014