Parliamentary Convenor: John McDonnell MP

The BBC Director General 2nd April 2010 Dear Sir, John Humphries Interview with Bob Crow (Today Programme, Radio 4, 8.15 am, 2.4.10) I am writing as Parliamentary Convenor of the Trade Union Coordinating Group, which comprises eight national trade unions (BFAWU, FBU, NAPO, NUJ, PCS, POA, RMT, URTU) representing over half a million members, to formally complain at the interview by John Humphries of Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary, and the subsequent BBC News headline at 8.30 am this morning on the Today Programme. Mr Crow was continuously interrupted by Mr Humphries but more importantly Mr Humphries introduced the concept and word “ballot-rigging” into the interview. This makes an allegation against the union which has not been levelled at them; the Court case in which the RMT dispute was discussed did not infer ballot rigging but errors in the ballot making process. Ballot Rigging is a serious legal offence and Mr Humphries introducing it in this way into the interview makes an allegation without any substantiation. In addition the subsequent 8.30 am News Headline on the Today Programme “RMT General Secretary, Bob Crow, Denies Ballot Rigging” is a disgraceful slur on both the union and Bob Crow. This is the classic technique that was used in the Courts years ago when the defendant was asked “When did you stop beating your wife?” and the introduction of the allegation of ballot rigging in this way slanders the RMT and Bob Crow himself. This was one of the most disgraceful biased performances of an interviewer and of the BBC itself in the history of the BBC and its treatment of trade unions. We are demanding that a retraction is made and an apology given and Mr Crow is given an opportunity to explain the RMT’s case without this biased interference. Yours sincerely,

John McDonnell MP TUCG Parliamentary Convenor Simeon Andrews, Co-ordinator, TUCG c/o G10, Norman Shaw South, House of Commons 07984 401 032 / tucginfo@googlemail.com