Culture secretary John Whittingdale defends BBC reforms in face of political opposition
Culture secretary John Whittingdale has been put on the defensive by skeptical MP’s critical of his proposals to reform the BBC as he declared that a decision on the possible part-privatisation of Channel 4 will be taken ‘quite soon’.
During a Commons committee hearing Whittingdale was pressed by fellow Conservative MP’s over the proposals, with Jessie Norman asserting that there was a ‘lot of concern’ amongst MP’s in relation to the impartiality of proposed BBC board members.
SNP MP John Nicolson was amongst those to intervene by voicing concern at a lack of political independence in a proposed new board of governance to oversee the BBC.
Committee members are rankled by plans to supplant the BBC Trust with a unitary board, half of whose members would be appointed by the government, but Whittingdale insisted: "The board’s not there to get involved in editorial decision making."
In relation to the future of Channel 4 Whittingdale stated that part-privatisation was amongst a number of options still being looked at, in addition to a continuation of the status quo.