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Last Updated: Thursday, 18 May 2006, 16:49 GMT 17:49 UK
'Prancing' BBC News hosts berated
Jack Straw
Mr Straw became Leader of the House of Commons earlier in May
BBC newsreaders are overpaid and should not "prance around studios", Commons leader Jack Straw has said.

Mr Straw told the House of Commons during a debate that he would prefer presenters to "actually sit at a desk and read the news".

The former foreign secretary said he thought that was what newsreaders were paid for - "and too much".

A spokesman for BBC News said: "We welcome feedback from all quarters of our audience."

Mr Straw was responding to Labour MP Chris Mullin, who complained that BBC newscasters "walk around the studio like a couple of ham actors emoting".

'Tabloid virus'

Mr Mullin said: "Can we find time to debate the extent to which the tabloid virus is beginning to infect BBC television news?

"Have you noticed that newscasters increasingly no longer read news to camera, but they walk around the studio like a couple of ham actors emoting?

"I think it is called news with attitude."

Mr Mullin also said Wednesday's Six O'Clock News was "cynically edited" to delete the fact that the prime minister had quoted former Conservative leader Michael Howard during prime minister's question time.

"Do you agree with me that if the BBC can't do better than this it is going to have difficulty justifying its licence fee?" he asked.

Mr Straw said he would pass his remarks on but editorial decisions were a matter for the BBC, not for MPs.

"On the issue of accuracy, all journalists, including the BBC, have a responsibility to ensure that quotations are attributed accurately," he said.


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