MPs threaten to name presenter at centre of BBC scandal as parents hit back after youngster 'rubbishes' claims

11 July 2023, 06:48 | Updated: 11 July 2023, 12:36

Lawyer for young person at centre of BBC scandal says claims are 'rubbish' as parents double down on claims
Lawyer for young person at centre of BBC scandal says claims are 'rubbish' as parents double down on claims. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

MPs have threatened to name the top BBC presenter accused of paying a teenager for sexual pictures after the young person's parents doubled down on their claims.

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The parents insisted they had a dossier of evidence including bank statements and screenshots of messages between the pair after the young person's lawyer labelled the accusations "rubbish".

There is "no truth" in the allegations, the lawyer said in a letter written to the BBC.

The lawyer said: "For the avoidance of doubt, nothing inappropriate or unlawful has taken place between our client and the BBC personality and the allegations reported in the Sun newspaper are rubbish."

Read More: BBC pauses presenter scandal probe as it emerges corporation only made two attempts to contact complainant

"I wouldn't be naming anyone in the House of Commons": Mel Stride on revealing BBC presenter

The parents accused the BBC of lying, with the step-father quoted as saying: “I told the BBC I had gone to the police in desperation but they couldn’t do anything as they said it wasn’t illegal. They knew all of this."

He added the family had “put the allegations to them for an hour”.

Some MPs are reportedly considering naming the individual, but work and pensions secretary Mel Stride told LBC this morning: “I think it’s a highly personal thing. I would not be naming anybody ninth House of Commons. “Parliamentary privilege is a very special and privileged thing and it should be used very very sparingly.

"Not enough is known yet by the outside world… and until we know all the facts I think it would be wrong to prejudge things.

“I would not be standing up in the commons naming this individual.

“We all need to take a little bit of a step back.”

A former Cabinet minister told the Mail: "There is a discussion going on about whether to name this individual.

"Parliamentary privilege has been used before to identify people who have tried to use injunctions to keep their names out of the Press.

"The circumstances here are slightly different, but the issues are the same – do we have free speech in this country, or do we just accept a creeping privacy law made by judges, which parliament has never approved?"

Speaking before heading off to a NATO summit Rishi Sunak, said the allegations are "shocking and "concerning".

Wwhen asked if he had been told who the BBC presenter was he said "no".

However, Sunak said he had been "reassured that the process will be conducted vigorously and swiftly", following Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer's talks with the BBC director-general over the weekend.

Read More: Met police 'assessing' information but not investigating after meeting BBC bosses over presenter explicit photo claims

Read More: BBC suspends presenter accused of paying teen for sexual pictures - as star 'called alleged victim twice over complaint'

A view of BBC Broadcasting house
A view of BBC Broadcasting house. Picture: Alamy

The young person's lawyer also alleged that they sent a denial to The Sun, which broke the story, on Friday, but said the publication decided to publish "their inappropriate article" anyway.

A spokesperson for the newspaper responded: "We have reported a story about two very concerned parents who made a complaint to the BBC about the behaviour of a presenter and the welfare of their child.

"Their complaint was not acted upon by the BBC.

"We have seen evidence that supports their concerns. It's now for the BBC to properly investigate."

BBC boss Tim Davie is set to face questions about the ongoing row on Tuesday as he unveils the broadcaster's annual report showing how much its biggest stars are paid.

The report, planned before the allegations came out, is an assessment of the BBC's performance over the last 12 months.

Crime and Policing commentator: There are questions to be had for The Sun's reporting

It comes after the Met Police said they were 'assessing' information amid the allegations but said no investigation had been opened.

A virtual meeting between BBC bosses and the Met Police took place earlier on Monday.

Alan Mendoza: "Look at the wild west on social media where literally anything can go..."

A spokesperson for the Met Police said: "Detectives from the Met's Specialist Crime Command met with representatives from the BBC on the morning of Monday, 10 July.

"The meeting took place virtually."They are assessing the information discussed at the meeting and further enquiries are taking place to establish whether there is evidence of a criminal offence being committed.

"There is no investigation at this time."

There is no ongoing investigation, the Met Police has said
There is no ongoing investigation, the Met Police has said. Picture: Alamy

Meanwhile, Downing Street has warned social media sites to ensure their platforms were "properly policed" following baseless accusations against various BBC personalities following the reports.

"Both the users of social media sites and the sites themselves have responsibility," the Prime Minister's official spokesman said.

People "should understand their responsibilities, and putting baseless accusations online can carry consequences".

The spokesman added: "We have been very clear with the sites themselves about their responsibilities on making sure these things are properly policed."