Ivan Lewis has today said that people who do not want the BBC to move from London to Salford are harbouring prejudices.
Lewis, who comes from Manchester, made the comments following criticism over moving the major media company away from London, with 46% of the Breakfast Team declining to move.
He said: “Let me say this to those commentators, celebrities and BBC staff who have railed against the BBC move to Salford and the investment in MediaCity – shame on you for your outdated prejudices, one-dimensional view of Britain and negativity about the north.”
Lewis believes that the move will help stop Britain from being seen as “London plus the rest”, a sentiment that people at the conference seemed to agree with.
One of the main arguments he made in his speech was about what the move would mean to the north of England, including economic and cultural benefits.
He added: "Alongside the NHS, the BBC is one of our great national institutions, one of Britain's greatest achievements.
"It is right that she accepts her responsibility to support the regions, but also the quality of her output will be immensely strengthened by seeking out a more diverse talent pool and range of experiences. If the BBC is to be the authentic voice of Britain it must look like Britain.
"Britain needs a thriving London and south-east but our country will never fulfil its potential unless we balance the important contribution of our financial services with other key sectors of the economy and ensure all of our regions are firing on all cylinders.
"That is why recent developments are so important and signpost the many opportunities which lie ahead to support locally produced, high quality content and facilitate the creation of new partnerships with organisations including independent producers, cutting-edge digital companies and universities across the north-west."
He was asked after his speech about his view on the localism agenda for television, and replied that he was “sceptical” of the idea.