BBC

– in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 9th July 2015.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield 9:30 am, 9th July 2015

What steps he is taking to uphold the future integrity and independence of the BBC.

Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The charter review is the appropriate process through which the Government consider all aspects of the BBC’s activities, its scope and scale, its funding, and how it is governed. A key aspect of this will be to consider its integrity and independence and how these are best upheld.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

The Secretary of State is a reasonable man, and I like him a lot. We would both agree that the BBC is not perfect, but will he put a stop to this BBC phobia? When we look at any part of the foreign press, we can see that the BBC is the best broadcasting service and that the balance of broadcasting in this country is the best in the world. Please do not damage it without thinking.

Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The hon. Gentleman was very kind in his first remarks, and I therefore could not possibly disagree with him. And I do not: the BBC does have many outstanding qualities, and it is the intention that, in the charter review process, we shall endeavour to strengthen them, not weaken them.

Photo of Peter Bone Peter Bone Conservative, Wellingborough

My right hon. Friend talks about strengthening the BBC, and he is right to say that it has many good values, but one of the problems that has existed over a number of years—the BBC itself has admitted this—is that it has tended to be very much an EU-biased organisation. It is almost institutionally biased. Is that something that the review will take into account?

Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The question of how the BBC meets its impartiality requirements is certainly part of the charter review process, as that forms an essential component of its governance. My hon. Friend will be aware that the BBC Trust adjudicates complaints against the BBC about impartiality at the moment. Some people have questioned that, and it is certainly something that we will be considering.