THE BBC has apologised to Nigel Farage after wrongly reporting he lost his account with the exclusive Coutts bank because he didn’t have enough money.

BBC business editor Simon Jack also apologised personally for reporting information from an “trusted and senior source” that “turned out to be incomplete and inaccurate”.

It was the latest twist in a story that has seen the Prime Minister and the Treasury side with the former Ukip and Brexit party leader over this treatment by Coutts.

The bank, part of the NatWest Group in which taxpayers have a 39% share, closed Mr Farage’s account earlier this year because his beliefs did “not align” with its values.

Despite apparently briefing Mr Jack that Mr Farage lacked the funds required of customers, the bank’s internal paperwork showed this was false and it actually objected to his politics.

Mr Farage used a data access request to obtain a 40-page dossier from Coutts revealing the truth, leading to a furore about banks and freedom of speech.

The BBC’s misleading original story was updated last Friday, with the corporation admitting “that the information we reported - that Coutts’ decision on Nigel Farage’s account did not involve considerations about his political views - turned out not to be accurate”.

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It told readers that the headline and article had been updated to reflect the fact that the “closure of Nigel Farage’s bank account came from a source”.

The BBC also issued a separate apology to Mr Farage over its Coutts story.

In a statement, the broadcaster said: “Because of this evidence, we have since changed the headline and the copy on the original online article about his bank account being shut for falling below the wealth limit to reflect that the claim came from a source and added an update to recognise the story had changed.

“We acknowledge that the information we reported – that Coutts’ decision on Mr Farage’s account did not involve considerations about his political views – turned out not to be accurate and have apologised to Mr Farage.”

Mr Jack also tweeted: “The information on which we based our reporting on Nigel Farage and his bank accounts came from a trusted and senior source.

“However, the information turned out to be incomplete and inaccurate. Therefore I would like to apologise to Mr Farage.”

The row has prompted Tory City minister Andrew Griffith to summon bank chiefs for a meeting to discuss how customers can be protected from “being de-banked”.

He wrote to the chief executives of around 20 banks, building societies and digital finance firms today warning that anti-corruption regulations around politically exposed persons were “being applied in a disproportionate manner by some financial institutions”.

He said the Westminster Government would “take all action necessary” to crack down on accounts being closed in response to customers’ political views.

The closure of Mr Farage’s accounts sparked outrage among senior Tory MPs who piled pressure on Coutts and NatWest.

It led to NatWest chief executive Dame Alison Rose apologising for “deeply inappropriate comments” about him in official papers.

Coutts, the 17th-century bank which closed Mr Farage’s account earlier this year, cited Mr Farage’s retweet of a Ricky Gervais joke about trans women, his friendship with tennis player Novak Djokovic, who is opposed to Covid jags, and flagged concerns he was seen as “xenophobic and racist”.

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In a tweet, Mr Farage welcomed the apology from Mr Jack.

He said he had “also received a letter of apology from BBC News chief executive Deborah Turness, adding: “I am very grateful to both.”

Mr Griffith told banks that, while the reforms have yet to be enacted legally, the Government “expects” that “firms should seek to take action on this policy as soon as possible and make best endeavours to implement”.

New measures include making banks explain why they are shutting an account, which was not previously required.

The notice period for a forced account closure will be extended from 30 days to 90 days.

The Government said the extension should give customers more time to challenge a decision through the Financial Ombudsman Service or find a replacement bank.