BBC dismisses complaints Laura Kuennsberg defended Dominic Cummings over lockdown trip

Laura Kuennsberg was accused of defending Dominic Cummings. (Dave Benett/Getty Images)

The BBC has dismissed complaints Laura Kuennsberg leapt to the defence of Dominic Cummings once news broke of his coronavirus lockdown trip to Durham.

On Friday night, Daily Mirror political editor Pippa Crerar tweeted her story that Cummings was investigated by police after he drove 250 miles from London to stay with his parents during the height of the coronavirus lockdown.

Kuennsberg, the BBC's political editor, responded to the tweet by quoting a "source" as saying it was "not true" that police spoke to him. She also said Cummings and his wife were staying in a separate building at the property.

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 01: London Mayor Boris Johnson ducks below tree branches while being interviewed by the BBC's Newsnight Chief Correspondent Laura Kuenssberg in between campaing stops with Conservative candidates on May 1, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. With less than a week to go before the UK general elections, Johnson filled a busy day of campaigning with stops at technical schools, a mosque and numerous restaurants and shops. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 2019/12/16: Twitter account of Laura Kuenssberg - journalist and political editor of BBC News. (Photo by Dinendra Haria/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JUNE 19: International Development Secretary and Conservative Party leadership candidate Rory Stewart is interviewed by BBC News' Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg after leaving Millbank studios on June 19, 2019 in London, England. The Conservative leadership contest will enter the next stage later today when a third round of voting is held in Parliament. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)
BBC Corespondent Laura Kuenssberg speaks with Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson in Downing Street, London. (Photo by Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images via Getty Images)
BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg asks a question to Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May during the annual Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference in central London, on November 19, 2018. - British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday defended her draft Brexit deal to business leaders ahead of "intense negotiations" with Brussels in the coming week. May told the Confederation of British Industry, the UK's main business lobby group, that she is confident of striking a deal at the European Council in the run-up to Sunday's summit to sign Britain's divorce papers. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS / AFP) (Photo credit should read ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 24: Len McCluskey, General Secretary of Unite the Union is interviewed by BBC News Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg outside 10 Downing Street following his talks with UK Prime Minister Theresa May on January 24, 2019 in London, England. Mrs. May met with UK trade union leaders as part of her effort to find political compromise on a Brexit deal, after her own plan was rejected by MPs by 230 votes. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: Laura Kuenssberg attends Turn The Tables 2018 hosted by Tania Bryer and James Landale in aid of Cancer Research UK at BAFTA on March 5, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: Tom Watson, Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, and Laura Kuenssberg attend Turn The Tables 2018 hosted by Tania Bryer and James Landale in aid of Cancer Research UK at BAFTA on March 5, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: Laura Kuenssberg attends Turn The Tables 2018 hosted by Tania Bryer and James Landale in aid of Cancer Research UK at BAFTA on March 5, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)
Journalist Laura Kuenssberg (C) speaks to camera after Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May delivered her speech on the final day of the Conservative Party annual conference at the Manchester Central Convention Centre in Manchester, northwest England, on October 4, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (centre) talks with BBC political editor Laura Kuenssberg, whilst watched by advisor Seamus Milne, after an interview at the Labour Party annual conference, at the Brighton Centre, Brighton. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau/PA Images via Getty Images)
Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson (right) is interviewed by BBC Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg at Victoria Tower Gardens in Westminster, London. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
BBC's Laura Kuenssberg comforts her her colleague, BBC cameraman Giles Wooltorton, after the car carrying Jeremy Corbyn ran over his foot as it arrived at the Institute of Engineering in London, where a Labour Party meeting is due to take place as they deal with the fallout from the sensational leak of its draft General Election manifesto. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 29. Tim Farron, Leader of the Liberal Democrats gives an interview to BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg on the day of triggering Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and formal beginning of Brexit on March 29, 2017 in London, England. PHOTOGRAPH BY Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read Wiktor Szymanowicz / Barcroft Im / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Laura Kuenssberg winner of the News and Factual Award at the Sky Women In Film & TV Awards at London Hilton on December 2, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Laura Kuenssberg (L) winner of the News and Factual Award with Ed Balls at the Sky Women In Film & TV Awards at London Hilton on December 2, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 02: Laura Kuenssberg attends the Sky Women In Film & TV Awards at London Hilton on December 2, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
ITV Business Editor Laura Kuenssberg at the CBI conference, at the Grosvenor House hotel, in central London. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
ITV Business Editor Laura Kuenssberg at the CBI conference, at the Grosvenor House hotel, in central London. (Photo by Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty Images)
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She wrote:

The corporation subsequently received complaints from people claiming she had defended Boris Johnson's chief adviser.

However, in a statement published on Wednesday, the BBC insisted Kuennsberg was not writing in defence of Cummings and that she was "simply reporting information from a source".

The full statement reads:

"As the BBC's political editor, Laura Kuenssberg's role is to provide our audiences with an impartial analysis of key political developments, based on her knowledge and expert judgment, and she often uses social media as a tool in her day-to-day work.

"We don't consider that Laura was tweeting in defence of Dominic Cummings.

"Laura was simply reporting information from a source, and we believe this was clearly stated in her tweet.

"A key part of Laura's job is to reflect views from many different parties in any given news story, which she did throughout her reporting and in her Twitter posts, during Friday evening and the rest of the weekend.

"This was clearly a big news story that was unfolding quickly, and we believe Laura reflected a lot of different views, whilst also establishing the facts and accurately reporting the many details of the story.

"BBC staff are always reminded never to present their own personal views on social media, within the fields in which they work. We're happy that this wasn't the case with Laura here."

The BBC did not say how many complaints it received about Kuennsberg's tweet.

Two days after the tweet, Kuennsberg was face-to-face with Cummings as he held a Downing Street press conference to explain his actions.

Kuennsberg asked him whether he "regretted" what he did "because many people have made heartbreaking sacrifices... for some people it seems as if there was one version of the rules for you and one version of the rules for everyone else".

Arguably the most high-profile political journalist in Westminster with 1.2 million followers on Twitter, she has come under repeated fire for her reporting during her five-year spell in the job.

Kuennsberg faced criticism during last year's general election campaign when she amplified, and later retracted, a false claim that an aide to health secretary Matt Hancock had been punched by a Labour activist.

Kuenssberg was also accused of breaking electoral law when, one day before the election, she claimed postal ballots painted a "grim" picture for Labour.

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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