BBC bosses give Huw Edwards a slap on the face after he described Sir Thomas Picton’s removal from the museum portrait as ‘censoring his history’

  • Picture of Sir Thomas Picton taken at National Museum Wales this week
  • The museum said the image of Picton was removed to ‘re-frame’ his legacy
  • BBC talks to Edwards about post in connection to guidelines around impartiality










BBC News presenter Huw Edwards is ‘being spoken to’ by bosses after he wrote that he felt ‘uneasy’ about a museum removing a portrait of an Army general due to his links to slavery.

After more than 100 year’s display at the National Museum Wales, Sir Thomas Picton’s picture was taken down this week.

The museum said the image – which labelled the slave owner a hero – was removed to ‘re-frame’ his legacy.

BBC News presenter Huw Edwards (pictured) is ‘being spoken to’ by bosses after he wrote that he felt ‘uneasy’ about a museum removing a portrait of an Army general due to his links to slavery

But in response to the move, the BBC’s News at Ten host, who last year was paid up to £429,999, wrote on Twitter: ‘As a journalist I feel uneasy about this element of “censoring” history. 

‘Should not Picton remain on display as a reminder to Wales of an aspect of its past – no matter how disgraceful?’ 

His comments are made as the BBC tightens its grip on impartiality, including the way its news staff express themselves on social media.

Yesterday it was reported that Edwards was being interviewed by the BBC regarding his post in relation its guidelines for impartiality. 

A spokesman said: ‘We are discussing this with Huw.’

BBC rules say that staff whose work requires them to be impartial should not ‘express a personal opinion on matters of public policy, politics, or “controversial subjects”.’ 

Edwards, 60 years old, took down a Facebook post with a Welsh flag on it in March after mocking a row that erupted when BBC Breakfast presenters Charlie Stayt (now Naga Munchetty) were accused of making fun at Robert Jenrick, the then housing secretary, for being interviewed before a large Union Jack.

Picton’s picture has been placed in storage, and two artists from Trinidad have been asked for more context. 

A picture of Sir Thomas Picton (above) was taken down this week after more than 100 years on display at the National Museum Wales

After more than 100 year’s display at National Museum Wales, Sir Thomas Picton’s picture (above) was taken off-line this week

The museum is calling this project Reframing Picton. Picton, as governor of Trinidad, abused slaves he owned. He was considered a tyrant according to 19th-century standards. 

The portrait depicted his status as the highest ranking officer to die at the Battle of Waterloo (1815).

Last week, after the publication of the Serota review – set up to examine BBC editorial processes in the wake of the Martin Bashir scandal over his Princess Diana interview – the corporation said it would sack stars who breached impartiality standards.

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