Charlie Brooker Wants Politicians To Let Him Take The Piss Out Of Politics

    UK parliamentary rules ban satirical shows from using Commons footage. Now the satirist wants the rules to change.

    TV presenter and journalist Charlie Brooker has complained to his MP about parliamentary rules that prevent him from using footage of the House of Commons to make fun of politics.

    BBC / Via

    During a Commons session on Thursday, Labour MP Rupa Huq revealed that Brooker – who, coincidentally, is her brother-in-law – had written in as a constituent to complain about the rules.

    That's because he can't use footage from parliament in episodes of Screenwipe, a TV show in which Brooker satirises the news.

    The parliamentary rules distinguish between broadcasts that are seen to be "satire, light entertainment, or factual". The last category can use Commons footage, the other two can't, which is why other shows such as Have I Got News for You and Mock the Week don't feature clips from parliament.

    It is also, some TV writers say, why there's no UK equivalent of The Daily Show.

    Confusingly, the real US Daily Show can feature Commons footage because the rules allow international broadcasters to use it. This led to controversy in 2011 after Channel 4 was prevented from showing an episode of the show because it featured a clip from parliament.

    Back then, a reply to a freedom of information request from Channel 4 revealed that the rules say that "no extracts from parliamentary proceedings may be used in comedy shows or other light entertainment such as political satire".

    "But broadcasters are allowed to include parliamentary items in magazine programmes containing musical or humorous features, provided the reports are kept separate."

    In the Commons on Thursday, Huq suggested to the Leader of the House, Chris Grayling, that the rules should be updated.

    "Given how vague these boundaries are, and the fact that these rules were dreamt up some 27 years ago, would he not agree with me it's a good juncture to revisit this?" she asked.

    But Grayling rejected the idea, telling the Commons that he's "not in favour of [proceedings] being made available for satire programmes".

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    So, the government doesn't believe proceedings in the House of Commons should be used for satire. Not even this moment on Tuesday when an MP told the shadow chancellor to "shaddap you face".

    Or this clip from last week, when the prime minister said his mum would tell Jeremy Corbyn to put on a suit.

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    Or that time John McDonnell quoted from Chairman Mao's little red book.

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    And even that hearing Chris Grayling talking about the "plight of hedgehogs" can't be used for satire.

    Can't imagine why Chris Grayling wouldn't want you to satirise him talking about the "plight of the hedgehogs".

    Siraj Datoo is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

    Contact Siraj Datoo at

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