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BBC accused of 'ignoring' Northern Ireland over politics show tweet

The BBC has been accused of ignoring Northern Ireland political parties over a tweet from one of its most popular political shows.

On Monday morning, the Daily Sunday Politics Twitter account posted that the final party political conference of the year was held over the weekend by Plaid Cymru and its party leader would be on the Daily Politics lunchtime show.

DUP councillor Phillip Brett was quick to point out that would be the case, if you "ignore the DUP", which has eight Westminster MPs compared to Plaid's three and is still to hold its conference this year.

And the SDLP, which has the same number of MPs as Plaid Cymru, has still to hold its conference this year.

The @daily_politics tweet was deleted after almost 15 minutes to be replaced with a corrected tweet.

East Belfast DUP MP Gavin Robinson said: "Whilst someone in the BBC may have overlooked Northern Ireland party conferences we will continue to ensure the government cannot forget the influence that DUP MPs have in the House of Commons.

"The Government has already adopted the DUP’s manifesto pledge on defence spending and this week we will once again oppose the government’s plans to cut tax credits.

"Unlike some other local parties we do so with a united voice.  The DUP will continue to fight for the best possible deal for the UK as a whole and for Northern Ireland in particular."

A BBC spokeswoman said: "A tweet was amended as it implied Plaid Cymru was the last party conference."

Ahead of this year's General Election, the BBC was criticised for omitting the Northern Ireland parties from its national party leaders debate.

The DUP said that to include other parties that had a smaller number of MPs was "unfair".

David Cameron also questioned the exclusion of the Northern Ireland parties.

The BBC defended its stance, insisting that to include one Northern Ireland party at the expense of the other parties in the region would breach its impartiality guidelines.

Instead, the local party leaders had their own debate screened on BBC NI and UTV.

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