I know that my right hon. Friend has a keen interest in this matter and a great deal of knowledge on it. I was pleased to discuss this matter, and a number of others, with him very recently. The mid-term review is an important milestone in the Government’s road map to BBC reform, and work is well under way. We are currently analysing feedback from a wide range of stakeholders and will set out the detail on the timetable in due course.
Does my right hon. and learned Friend agree that the requirement to be politically impartial must cover all those who are presenters on the BBC, including the highest paid? While individual contracts are a matter for the BBC, will she confirm that the mid-term review will cover the issue of enforcement of that rule on freelancers, as well as full-time employees?
As somebody whose grandmother escaped Nazi Germany in the 1930s, I think it is really disappointing and inappropriate to compare Government policy on immigration to events in Germany in the 1930s. It is important for the BBC to maintain impartiality if it is to retain the trust of the public, who pay the licence fee. The BBC is operationally independent, and I am pleased that the BBC will be speaking to Gary Lineker to remind him of his responsibilities in relation to social media.
Further to that, will she meet again with the director-general to ensure that the BBC reviews the contract of well-known multimillionaire lefty Lineker—who presents himself as a sports presenter with very scandalous views about Government policy—to decide whether he is a sports presenter or a political pundit who should be paid about £1.3 million less than he currently is from the public purse?
I think that I have made my views on this subject clear. The BBC has a 10-point plan in relation to impartiality, but it is absolutely important that it maintains impartiality so that the public retain trust in it.
It is now over six weeks since it was revealed that the chairman of the BBC helped the former Prime Minister to secure an £800,000 loan before he was selected for the job. Today he remains in post. What immediate steps has the Secretary of State taken to restore trust in the independence of the BBC, in the appointment system and in the Government?
As the hon. Member will know, there is an investigation by the commissioner for employment. It is ongoing and I am awaiting the outcome.