"It is nobody's intention to destroy the BBC”

Nadine Dorries, House of Commons

January 16, 2022

Facts

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries announced that it is “nobody’s intention to destroy the BBC”, just one day after announcing a two year licence fee freeze for the broadcaster. The freeze will amount to a real terms funding cut of £2bn.

 “Allies” of the culture secretary told the Mail on Sunday that "It’s over for the BBC as they know it."

The Mail on Sunday also quoted an “ally” of Nadine Dorries saying “‘This will be the last BBC licence fee negotiation ever. Work will start next week on a mid-term review to replace the Charter with a new funding formula. 

'It’s over for the BBC as they know it.’

Mail on Sunday political editor Glen Owen further reported that Nadine Dorries had “told friends” that: ‘I’m from the roughest streets in Liverpool – they can come after me if they want, but I am resolute. It’s over for the BBC as long as I am in this job.’ 

The MOS also reported an ‘ally’ of Nadine Dorries saying “‘It’s 2022, it’s over. This will be the last licence-fee settlement – ever.’ 

We approached Nadine Dorries’s parliamentary office to give her a chance to comment, but received no response.

Verdict

Nadine Dorries was sending out two contradictory messages. On the one hand she was using “allies” to tell the pro-government Mail on Sunday that “it’s over for the BBC.” At the same time she told the House of Commons that ”it was nobody’s intention to destroy the BBC.” There is a straightforward contradiction between the briefing given to Mail on Sunday political editor Glen Owen and Nadine Dorries statement to the Commons. This lack of basic integrity means that it is fair to say she was misleading the House of Commons. According to the Ministerial Code,  “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity.  Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister.”  

PreviousNext