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PM accuses BBC over riots coverage

Prime Minister David Cameron has become involved in a row with the BBC over the corporation's coverage of this summer's riots.

Appearing on BBC Radio 4's flagship Today programme Mr Cameron accused the broadcaster of trying to "mush" together the outbreaks of disorder in English cities with wider social problems.

In the interview the Prime Minister was forced to deny witnessing disorder while a member of the raucous Bullingdon Club during his student days at Oxford, but presenter Evan Davis insisted he was not trying to "point the finger at Cameron for hypocrisy" over his response to the riots.

Davis compared the Bullingdon Club to a gang that engaged in violent behaviour and asked the Prime Minister: "Do you see any likeness in that to what occurred?"

Mr Cameron told him: "I think we all do stupid things when we are young and we should learn the lessons."

Asked if he "witnessed people throwing things through windows, smashing up restaurants" while in the club, Mr Cameron replied: "No I didn't. As I say, we all do stupid things when we are young and I think that's clear."

It was when Davis then asked Mr Cameron about the wider causes of the riots that the Prime Minister hit out at the BBC's coverage. Mr Cameron said that "when you listen to the BBC there is a sort of danger" that all the issues were put in a "great mush and make that as an excuse for not acting".

Davis tried to interrupt the Prime Minister but Mr Cameron continued: "Some people almost say 'well until we deal with the problem of inequality in our society there is nothing you can do to deal with rioting'." Davis again intervened but was cut off by the Prime Minister who told him: "Well that's what it can slip into, Evan, if you are not careful."

A spokesman for the broadcaster said its coverage "sought to reflect a range of views as to the reasons behind the riots", and added: "We are confident we did this in an impartial and balanced manner."

On Twitter, Davis said: "The point of the BC (Bullingdon Club) question was not to point the finger at Cameron for hypocrisy ... it was about whether there is a general decline and whether we can forgive youngster's (sic) caught up in stupid things."


From Belfast Telegraph