BBC announces replacement coverage after cuts to Parliament channel

The channel, which was launched in 1998, will continue to broadcast 24/7.

Broadcaster Jo Coburn will host a new weekly parliamentary highlights programme on BBC Two after it was announced that the BBC Parliament channel faces cuts.

The corporation announced last year it would no longer be commissioning most of the bespoke programmes it makes for the channel, which is dedicated to coverage of the House of Commons, House of Lords and select committees in Westminster.

Coburn, a regular presenter of Politics Live, will now front Politics UK on Friday lunchtimes on BBC Two, which will sum up major events in Westminster and elsewhere.

Paddy Power Political Book Awards
Jo Coburn with fellow broadcasters Andrew Neil and Giles Dilnot (Ian West/PA)

According to the Financial Times, plans for BBC Parliament include ending rolling coverage of UK political party conferences and reducing staff numbers.

The channel, which was launched in 1998, will continue to broadcast 24/7, except when all four parliaments and assemblies are in recess, it is understood.

Some past election night results programmes will also be available on iPlayer from September.

A statement from the BBC said: “BBC Parliament will continue to provide audiences with substantial coverage of the House of Commons, House of Lords, select committees, the Scottish and Welsh parliaments and the Northern Ireland Assembly.

“A new weekly parliamentary highlights programme Politics UK, presented by Jo Coburn, will be broadcast on Friday lunchtimes on BBC2.

“We announced last July (2020) that as part of our wider BBC savings programme, we would no longer be able to commission most of our other bespoke programmes for the channel, such as Book Talk.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “The Government sets the objectives of the BBC.

“How it meets them is a matter for the BBC and not the Government.”

The BBC announced in July last year that financial pressure as a result of Covid-19 meant the number of jobs being cut from BBC News would rise to around 520.

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