An MP is 'disappointed' and concerned about the BBC's plans to reduce the number of staff working in the BBC Regional Political Unit based at Millbank in London by over a third.

Layla Moran MP for Abingdon and Oxford West, has expressed her concerns that slashing staff numbers will mean there will be less coverage of local Oxfordshire issues in parliament.

The Liberal Democrat said: “BBC News’ plans to cut staff at their Regional Team in Millbank is incredibly disappointing, and directly threatens the BBC’s mission to actively engage local communities and citizens in the democratic process. BBC South and BBC Oxford’s hard-working journalists already have their work cut out covering a number of institutions such as local councils, and it’s utterly unrealistic to expect them to pick up the slack.

“These cuts are a sign of the deepening divide in terms of media coverage of Parliament. The loss of Regional Team staff will mean there will be a greater focus on the theatre of events like PMQs and the loss of coverage of debates on local issues, disconnecting local residents from Westminster."

The MP has now written to Tim Davie, the BBC director general, urging him to reverse the decision, arguing that the cuts will do real damage to local engagement with elected politicians and lead to less transparency.

In the letter to Mr Davie Ms Moran said: "We should be putting more resources into connecting people to their elected representatives, not cutting back."

The MP also highlighted that these planned cuts risk 'deepening the divide' in terms of media coverage of Parliament.

There are concerns by MP's that the cuts could mean contributions to debates from local backbench MPs will no longer be covered in the same volume. The cuts could lead to less story spotting, fewer tip-offs and less scrutiny of Parliament on behalf of audiences around England.

Addressing Mr Davie, Ms Moran said in her letter: "When you recently appeared before the DCMS Select Committee, you appeared to not know the specifics of these plans. I urge you to look into this matter personally, and reverse the decision to cut the Regional Team. Otherwise, our local and regional news will become farther removed from the work of their MPs, the disconnect will grow and transparency will suffer."

She added: "The BBC’s Royal Charter says that it 'should offer a range and depth of analysis and content not widely available from other United Kingdom news providers, using the highest calibre presenters and journalists, and championing freedom of expression, so that all audiences can engage fully with major local, regional, national, United Kingdom and global issues and participate in the democratic process, at all levels, as active and informed citizens.' The planned cuts to the Regional Team in Millbank put that mission under greater threat. I implore you to reconsider."

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