Nigel Farage said the spotlight should return to NatWest, following the BBC’s apology. Alamy Stock Photo

BBC apologises to Nigel Farage for suggesting he lacked wealth for exclusive bank account

Farage said the “spotlight” should now be on NatWest over how his private financial information became public.

NIGEL FARAGE IS seeking to put pressure back on NatWest after winning an apology from the BBC, as the row over the closure of his bank account continues.

The BBC yesterday apologised to Farage for suggesting he lacked the funds needed to hold an account at Coutts after the private bank cut ties with the former Ukip leader.

It came after he acquired dossiers indicating his account was shut by Coutts, owned by NatWest Group, because it had found his public statements did “not align” with its values.

The ex-Brexit Party leader, who accepted the corporation’s apology, said the “spotlight” should now be on NatWest over how his private financial information became public

“Can I ask whether you have initiated any internal investigation into the leaking of my banking status and current account balances?” he asked NatWest Group chairman Howard Davies yesterday.

Farage has already received an apology from NatWest chief executive Alison Rose, who told him she was sorry for the “deeply inappropriate comments” about him in official papers.

But he has continued to put pressure on the lender’s leadership to investigate the leak.

In a letter to Farage, a segment of which was shared on his GB News programme, BBC News chief executive Deborah Turness told him: “I have reviewed what happened since we received your letter on Saturday.

“It’s clear that the story we originally published, based on information provided by our source, turned out to be inaccurate.

“While our teams took the correct steps in rectifying this on air and on our corrections and clarifications page, I can understand why you feel this story has contributed to you being put through a considerable and humiliating amount of publicity.”

She said that as part of the reporting process, the BBC “went back to the source to check they were happy for us to publish the information. They said they were”.

The BBC’s business editor Simon Jack also apologised.

The original story was updated last Friday, with the BBC acknowledging “that the information we reported – that Coutts’ decision on Nigel Farage’s account did not involve considerations about his political views – turned out not to be accurate”.

It told readers that the headline and article had been updated to reflect the fact that the “closure of Nigel Farage’s bank account came from a source”.

Yesterday, Jack tweeted: “The information on which we based our reporting on Nigel Farage and his bank accounts came from a trusted and senior source.

“However, the information turned out to be incomplete and inaccurate. Therefore I would like to apologise to Mr Farage.”

In a statement, the broadcaster said: “We have since changed the headline and the copy on the original online article about his bank account being shut for falling below the wealth limit to reflect that the claim came from a source and added an update to recognise the story had changed.

“We acknowledge that the information we reported – that Coutts’ decision on Mr Farage’s account did not involve considerations about his political views – turned out not to be accurate and have apologised to Mr Farage.”

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, Farage said the focus should return to NatWest and there was “no fault or no blame on the BBC”.

“If a very senior source gives you a good story, of course you run it. There’s no question about that,” he said.

“It’s just that I had to go to very great lengths and great personal damage to undo the story.

“Some will say the BBC could have acted more quickly but there’s no fault or blame.

“This now goes right back to the NatWest banking group. Somebody in that group decided that it was appropriate, ethical and legal to leak details of my personal financial situation.

“That, I think, is wrong at every level and that’s where the spotlight should be now, and it will.”

Press Association
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