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May 22, 2019updated 30 Sep 2022 7:49am

Brexit Party agrees to lift ban on Channel 4 News over rally dispute

By James Walker

The Brexit Party has lifted its ban on Channel 4 News after a meeting between the broadcaster and the party’s chairman this morning.

It was revealed this week that the Brexit Party had put a six-week block on Channel 4 News journalists attending party events following an investigation into leader Nigel Farage.

The Brexit Party claimed Channel 4 News was blacklisted after reporters “repeatedly lied” to gain access to a secure zone at a rally.

Channel 4 News denies the accusation and said its journalists had been escorted into the area by a press officer for the pro-Brexit campaign Leave Means Leave.

Editor Ben de Pear yesterday said the broadcaster only became aware of the ban last Thursday, when it published an investigation into the funding of Farage, revealing the former UKIP leader had been given almost half a million pounds from pro-Leave businessman Arron Banks.

Channel 4 News reported that this money was used to fund a “lavish lifestyle” after the 2016 EU referendum.

Its exposé prompted the European Parliament to open an investigation into Farage over the £450,000 of undeclared funding.

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In a statement today, the Brexit Party said: “Today Richard Tice, chairman of the Brexit Party, met senior executives at Channel 4 in an attempt to resolve an ongoing dispute over the behaviour of a Channel 4 news and camera crew at the rally in Parliament Square on 29 March.

“Having secured unauthorised access to a secure zone, the Channel 4 team repeatedly lied, falsely claiming that they had been invited in. When challenged by Mr Tice and asked to leave, they repeatedly refused.

The statement went on to claim that Channel 4 has “accepted that there are legitimate security concerns”, adding that the broadcaster had “given the necessary reassurance that there will be no repeat of such behaviour”.

But Channel 4 News responded: “We would like set the record straight and be clear that we do not accept the assertion that our team ‘repeatedly lied’.

“Our team were escorted into a secure area by a Leave Means Leave press officer.

“We are pleased that this matter has now reached a conclusion, six weeks after an incident we were unaware of and five days after our Channel 4 News investigation into Nigel Farage.”

Channel 4 News also said that Tice had agreed to appear on the programme for an interview tonight.

Several journalists expressed outrage at the Brexit Party’s decision to ban Channel 4 News, with Guardian columnist Marina Hyde describing the move as “Trump bullshit” and Times writer David Aaronovitch saying the ban was “depressing and… unsurprising”.

The Labour MP David Lammy also called on broadcasters to boycott the party’s events in solidarity, but none suggested they would when approached by Press Gazette yesterday.

Picture: Reuters/Henry Nicholls

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