BBC News, 31 January 2020

Summary of complaint

We have received complaints from people unhappy that the BBC did not broadcast Boris Johnson's Brexit Day address to the nation.

Our response

There is a process for recording statements by the Prime Minister, under which one broadcaster records it and then shares the footage with other broadcasters. This allows us, for instance, to assess whether it would be appropriate for the Leader of the Opposition to be given an opportunity to reply. Number 10 decided to supply its own footage on this occasion. The BBC is not required to show ministerial broadcasts, except in exceptional circumstances, such as a decision to go to war.


Along with other media, BBC News was given advance notice of the news-worthy aspect of the Prime Minister’s video message and reported that in our coverage throughout the day on Friday. In line with our usual editorial practice in such circumstances, we did not run the video when it became available on Friday night. The video was available elsewhere, including on the Prime Minister’s social media.