Wednesday 12 May 2021 8:42 pm

BBC apologises to James Dyson for labelling him a 'prominent Tory supporter'

The BBC has issued an apology to James Dyson after the broadcaster referred to him as a “prominent Conservative supporter”.

The BBC issued the apology today and admitted the inventor of the Dyson vacuum cleaner was mischaracterised in its coverage of Whatsapp messages between himself and the Prime Minister.  

In a statement the BBC said: “We accept that Sir James Dyson is not a prominent Conservative supporter as was stated in some of our coverage of his text messages with the Prime Minister.

“The James Dyson Foundation made a charitable gift to support the Wiltshire Engineering Festival for school children. We accept that this does not signal affiliation to any political party and we would like to put the record straight.”

The BBC said the inventor had also raised concerns about the accuracy of other aspects of its reporting, adding: “We wish to make clear that Sir James contacted Number 10 in response to the Prime Minister’s direct request to him for assistance in relation to the urgent need for ventilators and incurred costs of £20m which his company voluntarily absorbed in trying to assist in the national emergency.

“His text messages to the Prime Minister were also later sent to officials. We are sorry that these facts were not always reflected in our coverage, and we apologise for not doing so.”

In response, James Dyson said: “The BBC now acknowledges that it was wrong and has issued an apology – which I accept.

“To justify its claim that I am a ‘prominent Conservative supporter’ the BBC shamefully twisted our charitable gift to school children to suit their political narrative.”

Last month it was widely reported that Boris Johnson told Dyson by text that he would “fix” a tax issue affecting Dyson employees.

The BBC first revealed Whatsapp messages between the entrepreneur and the Prime Minister.

The UK’s richest man asked Johnson for his employees to receive tax exemptions for diverting resources to build ventilators for UK hospitals during the early parts of the coronavirus crisis.

Dyson at the time hit out at the BBC for its coverage of the affair, accusing the broadcaster of “grotesque mischaracterisation” after it incorrectly said he was a prominent Tory donor.