So Just How Much DO the Beeb Pay Politicians For Their Appearances?

I’m sorry, you’ll probably find that a boring question, but after seeing the same old faces time and time again on Newsnight, Question Time et al, I rather thought that I’d like to know.

So I took out my trusty quill and asked the BBC that very question;

Could you please tell me for the 2012/2013 Financial Year

a) How many serving MPs have appeared in BBC TV programmes (with the exception of live News Broadcasts etc)?

b) What was the total sum of money paid to serving MPs for their appearance/contribution to BBC scheduled TV and Radio programmes?

And today I got my answer;

“The information you have requested is out of scope of the Act. However, we are happy to explain that we do not keep a record of the numbers of MPs and so would in any case be unable to give you this information.”

They then referred me to the Beeb’s Editorial Guidelines for Payments to MPs.

What an interesting document that is, and it contained the following advice;

10.4.7

We should not normally pay MPs, or others clearly identified as representing political parties, for appearances or other contributions to any BBC output in which they are speaking as a member of their party or expressing political views. They can, where appropriate, be paid a limited and realistic disturbance fee and/or any reimbursement for
genuine expenses.

10.4.8

They may be paid for contributions to non-political output, where they are appearing on the basis of their expertise outside politics or of their celebrity, and are not taking part as a member of their party or expressing political views.
(See Section 10 Politics, Public Policy and Polls: 10.4.4)

Active politicians should not normally be paid for an appearance on, or contribution to, BBC News output. The extent to which a contributor is considered an active politician may be influenced in each case by a combination of factors including, for example, the type of programme or other content, the nature of the contribution, the contributor’s political activity or the capacity in which they appear. Further advice should be sought from Chief Adviser Politics.

So, there you are, MPs do it for free Plus Expenses.

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