Kenny MacAskill: Yes independence campaign should consider BBC licence fee boycott

Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has suggested that independence campaigners should consider a campaign of non-payment of the BBC licence fee.

Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill
Former Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill

The East Lothian MP hit out after the BBC defended its output in Scotland amid calls for change from a group of Nationalist MPs.

Mr MacAskill, along with fellow SNP MPs Douglas Chapman, Angus MacNeil and Neale Hanvey, penned a letter to the new BBC director-general Tim Davie recently, calling for changes to the way the corporation operates, including the replacement of the licence fee in Scotland with a broadcasting tax set at Holyrood.

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But in his response, corporation chief refused the MPs' request for a meeting and directed them to BBC bosses in Glasgow.

But Mr MacAskill told The National newspaper that campaign of licence fee non-payment among Yes campaigners should now be considered.

He said: “We stand by what we said. If there is going to be one and there is a clamour, then it has to be prepared and organised. I don’t think that’s for myself or my parliamentary colleagues, but it’s something I think the wider movement has to start considering.”

Relations between the pro-independence movement and the BBC have been rocky since the independence referendum in 2014, when senior Nationalists were critical of the corporation’s coverage of the campaign and protests were staged by Yes campaigners outside the BBC’s Glasgow headquarters.

Tensions also flared last month when the BBC announced it was to axe daily coverage of Nicola Sturgeon’s Coronavirus briefings, although that decision was later reversed.

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