BBC apologises for suggesting partially deaf MP was asleep

Picture of Tory MP Alec Shelbrooke 'resting his eyes' went viral

BBC Apologizes After Suggesting Partially Deaf MP Was Asleep
The BBC found itself in hot water after tweeting an incorrect observation that one member of parliament was asleep during a debate.

Turns out the MP is partially deaf and was leaning to his side with his eyes closed listening to a speaker imbedded in the back of his seat. The speakers are there for MPs as the House of Commons can get loud during debates.

The image of Tory Alec Shelbrooke went viral after cameras showed him slumped sideways with his eyes shut during a Trade Union Bill debate on Monday.

Twitter users believed he'd been caught napping and shared the picture, which was picked up by the BBC's Newsbeat. The Radio 1 news account then told its 100,000 followers the MP was "resting his eyes".

But it withdrew the tweet and said sorry after he hit back, saying he was struggling to listen to a speaker.

The MP said: "I am genuinely slightly deaf and struggle to hear. I had taken part in the debate and was trying to hear the wind ups. Seems a shame I get trolled due to being slightly deaf."


BBC Newsbeat tweeted: "Very heartfelt apologies to @alecshelbrooke MP. He is partially deaf and was listening to a speaker."

BBC trustee Richard Ayre told a committee of MPs yesterday: "Clearly if the BBC accepts it's wrong it will apologise and rectify it."

The Elmet and Rothwell MP spoke at length on the Bill, saying he was once a committed union member who'd turned against the movement.