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EXPLAINER: BBC Issue Apology to Farage For Printing Fake News – Here’s What Happens Next

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THE BBC has issued a formal apology after admitting is conducted inaccurate reporting in relation to the scandal surround Coutts bank and their former client Nigel Farage. But what was the scandal all about? Who else has apologised? And what happens next?

What happened?

It all started with a single tweet from Farage himself, lamenting the fact that Coutts had suddenly closed his bank accounts without providing any reason.

Who are Coutts? 

Founded in 1692, Coutts is one of the oldest banks in the world. Headquartered in London and owned by the NatWest Group, it is part of the group’s ‘wealth management’ division. Coutts generally only caters to the rich, with some of their most notable clients including senior members of the Royal Family. Coutts is partly state-owned after it had to be bailed out by the British government – and thus, disgracefully, you the taxpayer – to prevent it from going bust back in 2008.

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What happened next?

Well, the entire scandal seemed to play out rather efficiently on social media, with tweets – now the best way to follow a timeline of the scandal, bank bias, and evident conspiracy against Nigel Farage – going on to influence a debate in parliament and attract support for Farage even from his long-time adversaries (except from Alastair Campbell though, of course – that would be asking far too much). Even Elon Musk threw his two pence in. What resulted has been the revelation that senior bank officials are employing their own political bias and bigotry to ‘de-bank’ the likes of Farage and anyone whom they disagree with. But that’s not all. Many other politicians and political commentators came forward to report that they too had seen their bank accounts being closed down. And journalists covering the scandal, including at least one from the BBC, have now been left with egg on their faces, after seemingly having met with one of the bank’s bigwigs and (possibly illegally) ‘leaking’ details about Farage’s personal banking affairs.

A timeline in tweets

First, others revealed that they too had been ‘boycotted’ by the banks:

Then, remarkably, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt spoke out publicly in defence of Farage… and many began joining him:

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But despite the scandal being debated on numerous TV shows, by high profile politicians and celebrities, and going viral on social media, the de-banking letters still kept coming:

… so support for Farage continued to grow, with an ever-increasing number of people and politicians (the later of which are also, in most cases, people too) speaking out against Coutts and other banks:

Then the BBC, often criticised for its anti-Brexit bias, decided to wade in:

Journo Jack rambled on a little gloatingly in his thread for quite a bit (for 8 points in fact), so if you want, you can read his full comments above. But, in a nutshell, the BBC journalist stated that Farage’s accounts had been closed-down by Coutts due to him essentially not having enough cash (they like swollen purses, remember – particularly when in need of being bailed out for making those third party purses less swollen through the greed and mismanagement of their CEOs).

And Mr. Jack claimed that he knew all of this simply because the BBC had ‘been told’ it, and also because, rather shockingly, “people familiar with Natwest’s thinking” had “insisted” that this was the case.

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Why is that shocking? Well, not only because ‘somebody’ leaked private financial information about Nigel Farage, but because what the BBC’s simon Jack failed to mention is that, the night before he released his now-debunked claim about Farage, he attended a dinner where he sat next to the CEO of NatWest (Coutts’ owner) Dame Alison Rose. It thus perhaps doesn’t take Sherlock Holmes to deduce where Jack the hack might have got his ‘inside info’ from.

Then it was revealed that the person in charge of Nigel Farage’s account was an ardent remainer.

Thus, the pressure on Coutts continued to intensify:

…Until, finally, Coutts relented and admitted that it had lied – that Nigel Farage’s accounts WEREN’T closed due to any sort of financial reason, but solely because they didn’t like his politics. Outrageously, official documents from the bank branded him, a customer, ‘racist’, ‘xenophobic’, and ‘a grifter’:

Many of the ‘mainstream’ newspapers ran front page reports about how Coutts had lied about Nigel Farage’s bank account closure.
Nigel Farage's bank problems dominated have dominated the news.
Nigel Farage’s bank problems dominated have dominated the news.

Have Coutts and the BBC apologised yet, or are they now engaging in a cover-up?

The BBC and Jon Sopel initially failed to issue apologies, despite the undeniable evidence against their claims. While Jon Sopel and the BBC’s Simon Jack went silent on Twitter) the media began shifting the narrative to citing the real reason that Farage’s accounts were cancelled (i.e. because the bankers don’t like his political views), but failed to issue any form of correction or apology for their former false claims. However, with the weight of evidence stacked against them, and with even the Prime Minister wading in, they have now all been forced to admit that they were in the wrong.

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It’s reasonable to assume that the journalists in question were duped by Coutts – most likely by Dame Alison Rose – into parroting disinformation intentionally fed to them by her to protect the bank, and thus inadvertently were acting as the bank’s useful idiots. But it’s also fair to assume that some reporters, through their disdain for Nigel Farage and Brexit, jumped at the chance to play such a role.

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You can read the BBC’s ‘apology’ by clicking here.

What happens next?

More MPs, and even Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, have now spoken out against banks using political bias to deny individuals a bank account.

Mr Sunak’s official spokesperson said: “The chancellor is concerned by some of the reports. Free speech within the law and the legitimate expression of differing views is an important part of British liberty.”

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No 10 said the Treasury was already consulting on whether the banks’ current framework “strikes the right balance between the rights of a bank customer to express themselves freely and the right of a bank to manage commercial risks”.

As you can see below, Farage isn’t letting this one go, and is now seeking to find answers to why his information was leaked, with legal action now potentially on the cards.

But will it lead to actual reform? Well, we’ll just have to wait and see – but don’t bank on it!

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