BBC explains decision to drop Lily Allen’s Newsnight interview about Grenfell Tower disaster

The musician had earlier made comments on Channel 4 News about fatality figures resulting from the tragedy

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Lily Allen was dropped from Thursday’s edition of Newsnight after initially having been booked to discuss the Grenfell Tower disaster.

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The singer was replaced on the BBC2 current affairs show by the leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, in a switch which came hours after Allen had given an interview to Jon Snow on Channel 4 News in which she said that the true figure of fatalities from the tragedy was not being reported by the media.

“I have never in my entire life seen an event like this where the death count has been downplayed by the mainstream media,” she said on the bulletin.

“Seventeen? I’m sorry but I’m hearing from people that the figure is much closer to 150, and that many of those people are children. Those are off the record numbers I’ve been given from policemen and from firemen.”

Although initially having been asked to appear on Newsnight, she tweeted later in the evening that she had subsequently been replaced on the show:

However, a BBC spokesperson for Newsnight told RadioTimes.com that the decision to drop Allen had been unrelated to her earlier interview: “With live news programmes like Newnight final decisions on guests are often made late in the day which can mean the line up changes at short notice.

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“Newsnight secured an interview with the leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council late on Thursday evening and dropped Lily in order to allow time for Kirsty Wark to conduct a thorough accountability interview. Like other BBC outlets, Newsnight has reported official casualty figures but also made it clear that they are expected to rise substantially.”