Dorries said that “state-run TV has had its day”.
Culture secretary Nadine Dorries has decided to attack the BBC as a means of saving the failing premiership of Boris Johnson.
With the prime minister under growing pressure to resign following revelations of lockdown parties at Number 10, while the rest of the country was being told to stay at home and follow Covid restrictions, the Tories are engaged in ‘operation red meat’, where the government is expected to push ahead with right-wing populist proposals to appease Tory backbenchers.
One of those policies is to scrap the BBC licence fee, with Dorries claiming that “state-run TV has had its day”.
Dorries, one of Johnson’s most loyal allies, confirmed on Sunday the BBC licence fee will be abolished in 2027 and that the broadcaster’s funding will be frozen for the next two years. That means that the corporation will have to find £2billion in savings, likely close services and make redundancies.
Dorries wrote on Twitter on Sunday: “This licence fee announcement will be the last. The days of the elderly being threatened with prison sentences and bailiffs knocking on doors, are over.
“Time now to discuss and debate new ways of funding, supporting and selling great British content.”
A number of presenters and celebrities have shown solidarity with the BBC following Dorries’ assault on the corporation.
Broadcaster Dan Walker has defended the BBC licence fee, saying it cost “43p per day”, sharing a picture of all the services it provides.
Gary Lineker said: “The BBC is revered, respected and envied around the world. It should be the most treasured of National treasures. Something true patriots of our country should be proud of. It should never be a voice for those in government whoever is in power.”
Others pointed out the vital services the BBC offers. Felicity Hannah tweeted: “Remember during the lockdowns when the BBC offered the biggest educational programme in its history? It ensured that even children who couldn’t access the internet could view curriculum-based programmes. It wasn’t commercially viable, it was extraordinarily valuable.”
Ian Murray, the shadow Scottish secretary, described the announcement on the BBC as “a last-ditch attempt [by Johnson] to save his failing premiership”.
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward
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