GB News has faced several challenges since its launch including an advertising boycott, struggles with viewership and outrage over a presenter taking the knee. But now the TV channel is likely to be celebrating a victory after the campaign group working against the channel is facing accusations from MPs over allegedly breaching company laws.
GB News frontman Andrew Neil returned to the TV channel this week after announcing a break in June.
The broadcaster launched a scathing attack on Joe Biden and his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
The US President has continued to defend his decision to pull US forces from the country, but Mr Neil criticised the move.
Mr Neil called the actions “shameful” during a discussion with Nigel Farage.
The GB News chairman said: “Joe Biden didn’t have to continue with that, Joe Biden didn’t have to see that deal through.
“He could have changed it. I think he was playing politics.
“He sees the midterm elections coming up, he could lose the Senate, he could lose the House.
“That tends to happen in the early midterm elections, and he wants to be able to say, “Hey, I’m the one who got us out of Afghanistan”.”
Mr Neil has been keen to stress the importance of the channel, despite criticism from many, including the Stop Funding Hate group.
In response to reports of advertisers pulling their ads from the channel, he tweeted “How many other channels have you watched before deciding to advertise? I will be looking at brands to decide if they are fit to advertise with us.”
Speaking about his abrupt hiatus, Mr Neil said: “Yes we had a bit of a rocky start at the launch of GB News.
“We are a start-up. They are always a bit rocky these start-ups, but we are up and running as you can see.
“We get better every day and there is clearly an appetite for what we are doing.
“In two short weeks we have already built a loyal audience, which has beaten all of our expectations.”
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In the letter to Mr Kwarteng, the Tory backbenchers, led by Brendan Clarke Smith, argued the group have exploited prestige afforded by its CIC status.
Mr Smith said: “We are concerned that since 2017 the campaign group Stop Funding Hate has been exploiting the prestige that is afforded by CIC status, and the privileged access that CICs have to many grants of taxpayers money, for overtly political means.”
The letter added: “As it continued to whip up a cancel culture, and pressures brands into boycotting news outlets, we believe it is important to reassess whether Stop Funding Hate is the sort of organisation that represents the best of Britain’s charitable sector.”
It continued: “Whilst it is not clear to us, nor to our constituents … whose interest an attack on media plurality is meant to be serving, what we are certain of is that its current tactics are against the spirit and the letter of CIC legislation surrounding political activity.
“Rather than advocate on behalf of a group in society Stop Funding Hate is doing the exact inverse of what CICs are permitted to do.
“It is proactively advocating against a group in society, namely the hundreds of thousands of people who tune into GB News every day, and the 60 percent of the population who do not want to see brands engage in cancel culture of boycotts of TV stations.”
Official guidance enables a CIC to “engage in political activities if its engagement in them can reasonably be considered as incidental to activities which a reasonable person might consider are carried on for the benefit of the community, and which are not themselves incidental to political activities.”
For instance this could mean if a CIC which uses a community centre for local activities may be able to lobby local Government officials to improve facilities available in the building.
A spokesman for the Department of Business told the Telegraph: “We expect all Community Interest Companies to act in accordance with their legal obligations, and are clear that they should not be formed for political purposes, or have engagement in political activities among their main objectives.
“Decisions about whether a company meets the criteria to become – and continue to be – a Community Interest Company lie with the independent regulator who can investigate complaints and take action if necessary.”
Stop Funding Hate has been approached for comment.