Culture secretary John Whittingdale defends BBC reforms in face of political opposition

By John Glenday | Reporter

June 8, 2016 | 1 min read

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’.

John Whittingdale, BBC

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.

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