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BBC to remain member of CBI following row about indyref impartiality

The BBC has decided not to suspend its membership of business organisation the CBI after a row about impartiality in the independence referendum.

The corporation now intends to shift membership away from public service to its commercial arm instead.

The CBI sparked controversy when it decided to register as a supporter of the campaign for a vote against Scottish independence.

Some members quit in protest and broadcasters faced calls to leave.

The CBI later dropped its plan and the Electoral Commission declared its application void.

A BBC spokeswoman said: "As the CBI is no longer registered with the Electoral Commission as part of the Scottish Referendum Act, the BBC believes that it is no longer necessary to suspend its membership.

"We recognise that the CBI plays a significant role in supporting the creative industries, and the BBC along with Sky, ITV, and Channel 4 are members in this capacity.

"However, the BBC has moved its membership to BBC Worldwide, recognising that in practice it is our commercial arm that generally leads on these matters."

The CBI announced its plan to formally register as supporter of a "no" vote in March.

The move sparked a backlash that saw several bodies,including Scottish universities and broadcaster STV,either resign or suspend their membership.

The National Union of Journalists also called for the BBC to resign its membership.

In a surprise move, the CBI then revealed its application had not been signed by the correct person.

CBI director John Cridland said it had been an "honest mistake". The organisation insisted it is politically independent and impartial.

The Electoral Commission declared the application void on May 1.

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