Proms row grows as BBC accused of ‘ridiculous’ decision 

The row over the Proms intensified last night after the BBC refused to show concertgoers in Scotland and Wales rousing patriotic songs like Rule, Britannia!

Scottish Conservative MP Alister Jack has written to BBC director Lord Hall attacking the ‘ridiculous’ decision, and has accused the BBC of ‘short-changing’ its audiences.

The BBC screens live Proms in the Park concerts in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland each year, so that fans who do not get a ticket to the main event at the Royal Albert Hall in London can take part.

Tens of thousands attend each year, ready to sing along to the Rule, Britannia!, Jerusalem and Land Of Hope And Glory.

Concertgoers in Scotland (pictured) and Wales were denied patriotic songs such as Rule, Britannia!, Jerusalem and Land Of Hope And Glory after the live feed from London was cut short

But on Saturday their hopes were dashed, as the live feed to the Royal Albert Hall was switched off just as the orchestra was tuning up.

Instead, they enjoyed live versions of Loch Lomond and Auld Lang Syne.

Presenter Katie Derham told the audience in London that it was ‘time to say goodbye’ to the crowds gathered in Glasgow and Swansea, who saw local performances instead. 

Now MPs and musicians have accused the Corporation of ‘politicising’ the concert series in order to push a ‘separatist’, ‘anti-British’ agenda.

In a letter to Lord Hall, seen by this newspaper, Mr Jack, MP for Dumfries and Galloway, demanded assurances that the BBC will not repeat the blunder in the future.

He wrote: ‘It is ridiculous that the BBC chose to deny the Scottish Proms fans on Glasgow Green the rousing conclusion they have come to expect. 

‘The BBC give the impression that they are pandering to a separatist agenda that neither the majority of Scots, nor the majority of the United Kingdom, want.

MPs and musicians have accused the Corporation of ¿politicising¿ the Proms (pictured) in order to push a ¿separatist¿, ¿anti-British¿ agenda

MPs and musicians have accused the Corporation of ‘politicising’ the Proms (pictured) in order to push a ‘separatist’, ‘anti-British’ agenda

‘I would like your reassurance that this error will be a one-off.’

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Mr Jack said: ‘It’s the flag-waving brigade who go – so of course they are going to be disappointed. They tend to be fans of the United Kingdom and all that she has to offer.’

The MP’s misgivings were shared by Scottish pop star Tallia Storm, who said: ‘It was so incredibly short-sighted of the BBC.

‘Do they forget that the Scots voted to remain in the UK at the referendum?’

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen added: ‘There is a clear metropolitan, Left-wing agenda which is anti-British and which I and the majority of the country are uncomfortable with, but which we’re forced to pay for regardless.’

The BBC last night defended its decision, insisting that the Proms in the Park were ‘never designed as a sing-along’.

A BBC spokesman said: ‘Nothing has been cut from the Proms in the Park events. Since BBC Proms in the Park launched 21 years ago they have been standalone live events traditionally created especially for their audiences with a distinct programme and line-up of live performers.

‘They were never designed as sing-a-long concerts of The Last Night of the Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.’

There were of course joint moments for the Proms in the Park concerts and London. Fans at the events were all treated to a stirring performance of Sir Henry Wood’s sea shanties from his Fantasia on British Sea Songs – just as it was played by the BBC Concert Orchestra in the Royal Albert Hall.

They then heard performances of the Irish classic Danny Boy and the Scottish Eriskay Love Lilt.

However, that was where the unity ended and the live feed was switched off in Glasgow and Swansea. 

The decision is not the only point of controversy. Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage has also lambasted anti-Brexit concertgoers for waving EU flags at the traditionally patriotic event.

Speaking to The Guardian, he said: ‘These people are still in denial over the referendum result. They are trying to make it all about them instead of a great concert. The British people want to leave the EU no matter how many flags they fly.’