Former Labour MP Tony Benn defied the BBC’s self-imposed ban on broadcasting an appeal for the people of Gaza – by hijacking an interview on the Today to make the appeal himself.
Benn was asked on the Today programme this morning to argue the case for the BBC broadcasting the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal.
The BBC has come under mounting pressure to screen the emergency appeal, after ITV, Channel 4 and Five all announced today that they would be showing it.
Thousands of protesters joined a demonstration in London, while a string of politicians, including senior Government ministers, urged the BBC to reconsider its decision.
BBC chief operating officer Caroline Thomson said the BBC refuses to broadcast the appeal because to do so could compromise its editorial impartiality and for fear money raised could be used for political purposes by Hamas.
When asked to comment on this by Ed Stourton on Today, Benn said: “£50 would provide a food parcel for a family for a month.
“There are a million and a half people in Gaza without water, sanitation, shelter or electricity; 1330 have been killed, there are 5,450 casualties; 460 children.
“What I’m going to do now is to do the appeal myself and say if you want to make a cheque payable to the Disasters Emergency Committee Gaza Crisis, post it to PO Box 999, London EC3A 3AA or go to any post office quoting pre-pay number 1210.”