Wales politics

BBC 'Welsh Six' case to be examined by MPs

BBC Llandaff
Image caption BBC Broadcasting House in Cardiff

A group of MPs will look at whether Wales needs its own BBC News at Six, a chairman of an influential House of Commons committee has said.

A report from the Culture, Media and Sport committee has backed plans for a Scottish version of the BBC One bulletin.

This has led to calls for a "Welsh Six" or a Newsnight for Wales.

Committee chairman Damian Collins said a Welsh BBC News at Six was "something the committee will consider".

One Welsh member of the committee, Labour MP Ian Lucas, said no evidence on a Welsh 18:00 bulletin had been provided to the inquiry into the renewal of the BBC charter as it "hasn't been an issue within Wales".

BBC Scotland has produced pilots for a programme which could replace Scotland's equivalent of Wales Today and the Six O'Clock News in Scotland.

The plans were drawn up in response to criticism the main BBC News at Six often features stories on issues that are devolved, such as education and health, that are not relevant to Scottish audiences as the matters are dealt with from Edinburgh.

MPs on the committee said it was "perfectly reasonable" for editorial decisions on broadcasts in Scotland to be made in Scotland.

'Ongoing brief'

Mr Collins told BBC Radio's Good Morning Wales programme: "We have an ongoing brief and remit to look at work of the BBC and I think this is something we will question further."

Calling for a Welsh BBC News at Six, Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville-Roberts said: "Our democracy will only mature fully when the empowerment of our national institutions is matched by a more plural media.

"A Six O'Clock News‎ for Wales should be just the beginning," she said, adding she also backed the campaign for a Welsh version of Newsnight.

Welsh Conservative spokeswoman for broadcasting, Suzy Davies, said: "With discussions for a new television news programme anchored in Scotland also prominent, it is vital that similar considerations for Wales are continually explored - including a Newsnight for Wales - as we strive for greater representation for Welsh news and current affairs in broadcasting."

But Mr Lucas, MP for Wrexham and a member of the committee, said to his knowledge there "was no evidence submitted by anyone to the committee about the Welsh Six".

"The reason for that is that it hasn't been an issue within Wales," he said.

"It's clearly been an issue in Scotland, but its been an issue for a number of years in Scotland, that's why we took evidence on the issue.

"It's never been raised with me locally in Wrexham."

A BBC spokesman said: "We welcome the committee's recognition of the quality of BBC output and the importance of the BBC remaining free from undue political interference."

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