Boris Johnson snubs BBC as he films fireside Brexit Day message to the nation
The Prime Minister is set to address the nation an hour before the UK leaves the EU at 11pm on Friday. But his plans to snub the BBC and other broadcasters by using his own team to record the message have ruffled feathers.
Previous prime ministers have used an established system where one broadcaster shoots the footage and shares it with others.
The BBC has warned it might not air the message, which is understood to be a fireside chat.
A spokesman said: “There is a long-established process for recording statements by the Prime Minister at significant times where one broadcaster records it and shares the footage.
“The BBC and the other broadcasters are well used to following this usual process, which respects our independence as broadcasters.
“If Number 10 wants to supply its own footage we will judge it on its news value when deciding whether to broadcast it, as we would with any footage supplied to us by third parties.”
Mr Johnson’s address is one of a number of celebrations to mark Brexit day.
Government buildings in Whitehall will be lit up in red, white and blue, while Parliament Square and Pall Mall will be decorated with British flags.
A light display featuring a countdown clock is also planned for Downing Street.
And three million commemorative 50p coins will enter circulation.
Speaking on Facebook yesterday, the Prime Minister said the UK will make a “dignified” exit from the EU.
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Mr Johnson said: “What I will be doing is, in common with everybody else, I will be making a dignified exit from the EU.
“I will be celebrating in a way that I hope is respectful of the scale of the event, that does justice to the astonishing feat that Britain has accomplished but also is mindful of everybody’s feelings about what we are doing.
“It is a great moment for our country, it is a moment of hope and opportunity but it is also, I think, a moment for us to come together in a spirit of confidence.”
It comes after the European Parliament voted by 621 to 49 in favour of the Withdrawal Agreement on Wednesday.
The agreement settles the terms of the UK’s departure from the bloc, including future citizens’ rights, the arrangements on the Northern Ireland border and the UK’s divorce settlement.
It also allows for an 11-month transition period, during which time Britain will continue to follow EU rules while the two sides strike a free trade agreement.
Mr Johnson has insisted he will not extend the tradition period beyond 2020, despite claims the timeframe is too tight to reach a comprehensive deal.
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