Remainer writes open letter to BBC demanding they use ‘if’ not ‘when’ in Brexit coverage

An anti-Brexit campaigner has blasted the BBC in an open letter for allegedly saying “when” the UK leaves the EU and not “if”.

Kim Spence-Jones, 62, has written to BBC chairman Sir David Clementi, claiming the broadcaster’s stance that Brexit will happen is “factually incorrect”.

In the open letter, he argues the country could still pull out of an EU exit and insists the corporation should “use language that reflects the truth, in other words ‘if’ and not ‘when’”.

The retired high-tech engineer previously complained about the BBC’s use of “when” in coverage of the Brexit process.

In a letter to Kim, the broadcaster’s complaints team said: “Since Article 50 was invoked in March, it is fair and accurate to refer to Brexit as an ongoing process that will happen.

“Even if the deal is not agreed by March 2019, the UK will leave the EU without a deal.”

Kim lives in Cambridge, a strong remain constituency in the EU referendum.

He runs a group called Project Unify, which he describes as a group “trying to put together a more advertising-led approach to Remain”.

“Chatting to people I’m often shocked at how little understanding there is about what the EU does and the process we’re going through,” said the Cambridge University graduate.

“I regularly come across people who say ‘I thought it was done and dusted’ and I think the BBC is contributing to that and it worries me.

“The BBC saying ‘when’ and not ‘if’ makes Brexit sound like an unstoppable juggernaut.

“I think even some leavers are fed up with the poor reporting by the BBC so I think it’s going to be extremely difficult to defend its position.”

In the letter to David Clementi, Spence-Jones argues that it is possible the UK could legally turn its back on Brexit.

He also says “political routes” have been offered by EU boss Donald Tusk and Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt.

Mr Spence-Jones first complained to the BBC about commentators saying “Brexit will happen” in May last year.

Kim Spence-Jones (62) from Cambridge. An anti-Brexit campaigner has blasted the BBC in an open letter for allegedly saying “when” the UK leaves the EU and not “if”.

The broadcaster’s complaints team replied saying it had recorded his concern on a daily “Audience Feedback Report”, which “could be used to inform broadcasting and policy decisions”.

In December, Spence-Jones contacted the BBC again saying its response was “totally inadequate” and threatened to take the issue to Ofcom if it didn’t reply to him at a “less cut-and-paste level”.

The complaints team replied again, saying: “Our reports accurately reflect the political reality of the ongoing Brexit negotiations.

“We’ve now reached the stage where firm deadlines are being created and through law and Parliament the process has clearly begun.”

The email acknowledged there were “objections from other quarters who hope to prevent the EU Withdrawal Bill from taking effect”, and said it reflected this in its coverage where appropriate.

It also acknowledged that Parliament could in theory block the UK’s EU exit but said it was “very unlikely given that a majority of people voted for Brexit in the referendum”.

Spence-Jones forwarded the BBC’s response to Ofcom, which replied telling him he would need to progress the complaint one step further with the BBC.

He then wrote the open letter to the BBC chairman.

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