Jon Sopel says ex-BBC colleagues need to 'look at themselves' over Huw Edwards coverage


Jon Sopel has launched a series of scathing attacks on his former employer, the BBC, over the corporation's handling of the Huw Edwards scandal.

The former BBC North America Editor hit the airwaves on Andrew Marr's LBC radio programme to blast the national broadcaster, having tweeted moments earlier about the corporation's coverage of the bombshell story.

The 64-year-old told his former BBC colleague that the 100-year-old network's response to the allegations made by The Sun is proof that rather than being a "streamlined organisation", the outlet is characterised by a "series of totally uncoordinated limbs".

Earlier he had tweeted that the BBC News coverage of the announcement that Huw Edwards was the mystery presenter was "just terrible".

Mr Sopel is currently the co-host of the Global podcast The News Agents, with former BBC employees Emily Maitlis and Lewis Goodall.

The former Sunday morning political presenter, Mr Marr, asked Mr Sopel if he thought the BBC had "behaved effectively or well or rightly" in its handling of the allegations made in The Sun.

The 2007 Political Journalist of the Year replied: "Well I think the BBC is a complicated beast.

"It would be lovely to think of it as a sort of streamlined organisation where one bit knows what the other bit is doing, and the BBC is a series of totally uncoordinated limbs.

"I just thought yesterday was the classic example of it. Yesterday lunchtime you have Tim Davie saying 'we're not going to carry out any further investigations until the police have decided whether there is anything to be seen or not', meanwhile BBC News is carrying out investigations and produces a report at 4 o'clock in the afternoon saying that he [the presenter] had spoken to someone in aggressive tones and used swear words."

He added: "And I just thought 'well, hang on, does the one know what the other is doing?'"

Earlier on the show, he had said: "I think some of my colleagues in BBC News need to look at themselves..."

Minutes before appearing on LBC, Mr Sopel had tweeted a sharp-tongued message, taking aim at the BBC News channel and BBC Radio 4.

He said: "Dear @BBCRadio4 @BBCNews, Well done on handling the breaking news about @thehuwedwards and the fact that he’s now being treated in hospital – but to then straight off back of that into a report on him facing fresh allegations of misconduct? That was just terrible.”

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Sopel disagreed with Jeremy Vine, that the then-anonymous presenter should reveal their identity, saying on his The News Agents podcast: “I think that whoever the presenter is needs to work it out himself, I cannot begin to imagine the sort of pressure, the sort of anguish, turmoil that is going on in his life.”

Following the announcement that Mr Edwards was in the eye of the storm, Mr Sopel tweeted: “This is an awful and shocking episode, where there was no criminality, but perhaps a complicated private life."

Mr Sopel's ruthless comments came following the announcement from Vicky Flind, Mr Edwards's wife, that her husband was the man at the centre of The Sun's allegations.

She revealed that the BBC star, who brought the nation the tragic news of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II last year, was suffering from severe mental health issues and was receiving in-patient treatment.

She spoke to the PA news agency, saying: "Huw is suffering from serious mental health issues. As is well documented, he has been treated for severe depression in recent years.

"The events of the last few days have greatly worsened matters, he has suffered another serious episode and is now receiving in-patient hospital care where he’ll stay for the foreseeable future.

"Once well enough to do so, he intends to respond to the stories that have been published."

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