The BBC Apologizes to Nigel Farage Over Inaccurate Story on Bank Account Closure
The BBC has issued an apology to Nigel Farage regarding a story on the closure of his Coutts bank accounts, which was later found to be inaccurate. Last month, Mr. Farage revealed that his personal and business accounts at Coutts, owned by NatWest Group, were being shut down without explanation. The BBC initially reported that the closure was due to Mr. Farage falling below the bank’s wealth requirement, and that his political opinions were not a factor in the decision.
However, Mr. Farage obtained a 40-page dossier from Coutts, which suggested that the closure was partly influenced by his views not aligning with the firm’s “values,” including his stance on LGBTQ+ rights and his friendship with former US president Donald Trump.
In response to the evidence presented by Mr. Farage, the BBC has since changed the headline and copy of the original online article to reflect that the claim came from a source. The broadcaster has also acknowledged that the information they reported, stating that Coutts’ decision did not involve considerations about Mr. Farage’s political views, was inaccurate. The BBC has apologized to Mr. Farage for this error.
NatWest’s CEO, Alison Rose, has also apologized to Mr. Farage for the “deeply inappropriate comments” made about him in documents prepared for the company’s wealth committee. She stated that these remarks did not reflect the bank’s view and offered Mr. Farage alternative banking arrangements.
Mr. Farage’s lawyers have written to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) to request an investigation into the mishandling of his personal data by NatWest Group and the alleged sharing of personal information with the BBC.
The controversy surrounding Mr. Farage’s bank account closure has prompted the Treasury to announce reforms aimed at better protecting customers from similar situations in the future. These measures include requiring banks to explain the reasons for closing an account and extending the notice period from 30 to 90 days.
City Minister Andrew Griffith has summoned bank and building society bosses for talks and warned them that the government will take necessary action to prevent accounts from being closed based on customers’ political views.
Mr. Farage expressed his gratitude to Simon Jack, the BBC’s business editor, and BBC News head Deborah Turness for their apologies. He also stated that he would take some time to process the apology, noting that it is rare for the BBC to apologize.
Overall, this incident highlights the importance of accurate reporting and the potential consequences of misinformation in the media.
- The BBC has apologized to Nigel Farage for an inaccurate story on the closure of his Coutts bank accounts.
- Mr. Farage obtained a dossier suggesting that the closure was influenced by his views not aligning with the firm’s “values.”
- The BBC has acknowledged the inaccuracy of their initial reporting and changed the headline and copy of the original article.
- NatWest’s CEO has apologized to Mr. Farage and offered him alternative banking arrangements.
- Mr. Farage’s lawyers have requested an investigation into the mishandling of his personal data.
- The Treasury has announced reforms to better protect customers from similar account closures in the future.
- City Minister Andrew Griffith has warned banks against closing accounts based on customers’ political views.
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