John McDonnell: Labour politicians may no longer appear on RT TV station
The announcement comes in the wake of the Salisbury nerve agent attack.
Senior Labour politicians may stop appearing on the Kremlin-backed RT television channel, shadow chancellor John McDonnell has said.
Following the Salisbury nerve agent attack – widely blamed on Russia – Mr McDonnell said he would no longer appear on the station, formerly known as Russia Today, and that there would be a discussion on whether others in the party should follow suit.
“I think that is right now and that is what I will be doing. What we are seeing from Russia Today sometimes goes beyond objective journalism from what I’ve seen,” he told BBC1’s The Andrew Marr Show.
.@johnmcdonnellMP says if Russia is involved in the attempted murder of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Britain will need to “isolate” that state.— The Andrew Marr Show (@MarrShow) March 11, 2018
He tells #marr that he will no longer appear on Russia Today #marr pic.twitter.com/6U7LKaxjGa
“I have been looking overnight at some of what’s happening in terms of the change in coverage on Russian television in particular and I think we have to step back now.
“I can understand why people have (appeared on RT) up until now because we have treated it like every other television station.
“We tried to be fair with them and as long as they abide by journalistic standards that are objective that’s fine but it looks as if they have gone beyond that line, so yes, we will have that discussion.”
Peter Dowd, who is Mr McDonnell’s deputy as shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said he had appeared on RT on a number of occasions, including in a programme broadcast at the start of this week.
Mr Dowd told Sky’s Sunday with Paterson: “In light of the events of this week, of course we will undertake a review of what we do in regards to these, as you will always do in these sorts of circumstances.
“But I have to emphasise that what I try to do is to come onto television programmes like this and answer the questions that are put to me.
“It’s not for me to ask the questions. It’s for other people to ask the questions and if I can answer them to the best of my ability, I will do so.”