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Ex-MP Harvey Proctor complains to BBC over Breakfast interview with Naga Munchetty

Ex-Tory MP Harvey Proctor has complained to the BBC about his interview on Breakfast with Naga Munchetty, which he walked out on midway through.

Proctor (pictured) told Press Gazette he filed the complaint on Wednesday after the BBC dismissed viewer complaints regarding the interview, which broadcast on BBC One on 5 October.

He had been speaking about Operation Midland, the £2m Met Police probe into claims by Carl Beech, aka “Nick”, of a VIP paedophile sex ring operating in Westminster, which turned out to be fantasy.

The 72-year-old was one of a number of high-profile figures falsely accused of being a member of the ring who Beech claimed had abused and murdered children.

Operation Midland ended without arrest in 2016. Beech is currently serving an 18-year sentence for perverting the cause of justice and fraud.

During the interview on BBC Breakfast, Proctor accused Munchetty of talking over him as she tried to offer a right of reply to the Met.

Responding to viewers’ complaints, the BBC found Munchetty had interrupted Proctor in order to “keep the interview on track”, but said this was done “politely and professionally”.

It added: “We believe Naga Munchetty conducted the interview in a fair and understanding manner.”

Proctor’s complaint centres on his claims against Met Police Commissioner Cressida Dick, which he repeated on Breakfast.

Proctor has accused the police chief of lying to cover up failures in the investigation, which ran for 18 months from November 2014, The Times has previously reported.

He said Munchetty was wrong to say during the interview that Dick had been cleared of misconduct over her involvement in Operation Midland.

Dick is not mentioned in either the independent review of the Met’s handling of Beech’s claims carried out by ex-High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques or the UK police watchdog’s review of the investigation.

“Dick had not been cleared by either,” said Proctor, who is suing the Met for £1m, in his complaint.

“Munchetty issued a warning against me saying things which were “potentially incorrect”.

“A BBC complaints response states this was not in regard to what had been said in the conversation, but ‘to ensure nothing is said in the future that was incorrect’.

“Munchetty’s hypocrisy, which BBC Complaints has failed to mention, was too much to bear. I therefore brought the interview to an end.”

The BBC declined to comment on Proctor’s complaint.

He told Press Gazette: “I went to the BBC in the morning to be interviewed and be asked any questions.

“I was in a perfectly amicable state, but what I wasn’t prepared to do was to be talked to and treated as I was treated in that interview…

“I just put it down to Naga Munchetty having a preconceived view that Cressida Dick must not be attacked in any shape of form… and as the interview developed I came to the conclusion there was no point in staying.”

Dick told LBC radio last month that in her role as assistant commissioner for specialist crime and operations she was “given some briefings about the start of Operation Midland”, but had left the job by the end of 2014.

“I would say my involvement was short and at the very beginning,” she said of the investigation that has been widely condemned by the press.

Dick was appointed as the Met Police chief in February 2017, a full year after the investigation was brought to a close.

A Met spokesperson said: “The Commissioner did not give a false account to LBC.”

Munchetty has been in the headlines recently over her comments about a tweet by Donald Trump telling non-white US congresswomen to “go back” to where they came from, which she said was “embedded in racism”.

A complaint against her was initially upheld, before BBC director general Tony Hall reversed the ruling as it threatened to drag the corporation into a race row.

Lord Hall said Munchetty was an “exceptional journalist and presenter”.

Munchetty has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Picture: BBC

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