The BBC will face sanctions and fines from its new regulator unless it ends its Brexit bias, a former Culture Secretary and architect of the Royal Charter has warned.
John Whittingdale, a Conservative MP, said that he is concerned that the corporation is “constantly looking for negatives and highlighting the challenges” of Brexit.
He warned that if the corporation’s negative coverage persists MPs could “escalate” their complaints to Ofcom, which takes over regulation of the BBC in a fortnight.
The regulator has the power to impose sanctions including broadcasting corrections, banning repeats of coverage and imposing a £250,000 fine.
It comes after more than 70 MPs wrote to the corporation warning that its “perverse and skewed” coverage risks undermining Brexit.
Mr Whittingdale, who drew up the new Royal Charter which enshrines the corporation’s duty to be impartial, said: “My own impression is that the BBC is constantly looking for negatives and highlighting the challenges that arise from Brexit.
“That is born out by both the analysis of the proportion of coverage given to people talking about difficulties and risks compared to those presenting a more positive picture.
“There is a very strong feeling in Parliament, I cannot think of a precedent of 70 members of Parliament expressing concerns.
“This is quite a big test for a new governance structure that has only been in place since the beginning of the year.”