Conservative MP Lee Anderson has vowed never to give the BBC “another penny”, blasting the public broadcaster as “rotten” and calling for it to be made a subscription service.
The MP for Ashfield made the remarks during a Commons urgent question to John Whittingdale, the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport minister, as parliament reflected on the findings of Lord Dyson’s report into the BBC.
Mr Anderson insisted his constituents have “lost all confidence” in the BBC and told the Commons: “I personally have ripped up my TV licence and they won’t get another penny from me, ever.
“Because in my opinion, the once great BBC is rotten and my constituents shouldn’t have to pay for a service if they don’t use it,” Anderson added.
“So does my Right Honourable friend agree with me that one way to make the BBC behave in the future is to make it a subscription service?”
Mr Whittingdale responded by declaring his Conservative colleague is “absolutely right that one of the great challenges that the BBC faces is to reconnect with the people that he represents.
“I think there is a widespread feeling that the BBC is too metropolitan-centred and that it has lost touch with the views of a large part of the British population. With regards to subscription, the licence fee is in place until 2027 when the current Charter expires, but there is bound to be a debate about the future funding,” the minister added.
Other contributions during the urgent question included Labour MP who said: “If the BBC can’t keep itself honest, we’re in real trouble aren’t we? The changes at the BBC need to go beyond governance, structure and procedure and into a deep cultural change.”
Meanwhile, Sir John Redwood asked the minister: “How can someone who supports Brexit, believes in the Union and loves England, be persuaded that the BBC’s view of public service broadcasting will in future be fair to their views?”
In response, Mr Whittingdale insisted that he is “one of the people he has described in all three of those measures.
“I too have occasionally been concerned by a lack of impartiality in the BBC on some of those issues and that is something that has been felt by a large number of people.
“It is the job of the BBC to deliver impartiality and I know that the leadership of the BBC that is now in place is absolutely committed to,” the minister concluded.