Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries’ fury at Nick Robinson after telling PM to stop talking

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Cabinet Minister Nadine Dorries has privately expressed her anger towards her allies after Boris Johnson was asked to “stop talking” during a heated debate with presenter Nick Robinson.

The Culture Secretary, who took over from Oliver Dowden in the cabinet reshuffle, expressed frustration with Mr Robinson after his tense exchange with the Prime Minister on Radio 4’s Today program – which sparked 558 complaints from the ‘Ofcom this month.

The lively interview saw the MP for Mid-Bedfordshire, who has previously called on the BBC to come up with plans to fight fairness, said privately allies: “Nick Robinson cost the BBC a lot of money”, The temperature reports.

While it is not clear where Ms Dorries expressed her anger at the presenter, the money threat is said to focus on the minister’s role in overseeing the future of the BBC’s license fees and on how Mr Robinson’s interview with the Prime Minister might affect the company’s deal. to have.

It appears the minister, who once described state television as “more in line with a Soviet-style country”, is likely to play hard in future negotiations following the interview.

Cabinet Minister Nadine Dorries, who took over from Oliver Dowden in the September cabinet reshuffle, told her allies: “Nick Robinson cost the BBC a lot of money”

The Prime Minister's exchange with Nick Robinson on the Today show sparked 558 Ofcom complaints this month

The Prime Minister’s exchange with Nick Robinson on the Today show sparked 558 Ofcom complaints this month

When she first met Tim Davie, the managing director of the BBC, and company chairman Richard Sharp last month, the culture secretary reportedly called for reforms and better control of the balance of programs in the media. information within society.

She also called on BBC bosses to fight prejudice and elitism within the company.

A source told The Times: “They were both stunned and gobbled up their tea. They thought she was just going to turn around.

It comes as the BBC revealed it had received 558 objections over bias to Radio 4’s Today animated show between the Prime Minister and Nick Robinson earlier this month.

The interview at the Conservative conference in Manchester immediately began under tension, with Mr Robinson stating how long Mr Johnson had been on the show, prompting him to respond insolently “Has has it really been that long? “

During the interview, Mr Johnson was interrupted during a lengthy response on the supply chain crisis by Mr Robinson, who told him: ‘Prime Minister, you are going to take a break.

“Prime Minister stop talking, we’re going to have questions and answers, not where you just talk, if you don’t mind. “

The Prime Minister replied: “I am very happy to stop talking”, before Mr Robinson asked him another question on corporate taxation.

After a series of other irritable exchanges, Mr Robinson ended the interview and told the Prime Minister: “Thank you for speaking on the Today program and for allowing the occasional question as well.”

The politician retaliated, “It’s very nice of you to let me speak … I thought that was the point of inviting me to your show.”

Following the interview, Tory MPs complained about the way Mr Johnson had been treated, with John Redwood tweeting: “When the Prime Minister got a good answer to a question, the BBC Today program tried to stop it, asking a different question.

During the interview Mr Johnson was interrupted during a response on the supply chain crisis by Mr Robinson

During the interview Mr Johnson was interrupted during a response on the supply chain crisis by Mr Robinson

The Mid-Bedfordshire MP has previously called on the BBC to come up with plans to fight impartiality

The Mid-Bedfordshire MP has previously called on the BBC to come up with plans to fight impartiality

“BBC interviewers should allow a response and pretend to be interested in the person they are interviewing. Rather, they seem to want to impose their point of view.

Andrew Murrison, Member of Parliament for South West Wiltshire, called Mr Robinson’s approach a “slapstick”.

He said: “The rudeness of the BBC brand magnifies the political debate. Rarely gets a “gogue moment” that its overpaid experts are looking for. “

Bias to BBC

The BBC has repeatedly been accused of bias by critics

In July, it emerged that the company had received a record 500,000 viewer complaints in one year, over concerns over the broadcaster’s “perceived bias”.

The figures were revealed in the BBC’s annual report, which acknowledged that “too many people perceive the BBC as being shaped by a particular perspective”.

The list of complaints was topped by Emily Maitlis with her Newsnight monologue on Dominic Cummings in May 2020.

Ms Maitlis, during a discussion of Mr Cummings’ trip from London to Durham during the first nationwide lockdown, claimed that Boris Johnson’s former adviser “had broken the rules” adding: “The country can see it, and he’s shocked the government can’t. “

His speech then sparked 23,674 complaints and the Ofcom broadcast watchdog warned the BBC that hosts should not “inadvertently appear to be expressing personal opinions.”

BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty, alongside co-host and Charlie Stayt, also drew 6,498 complaints after the couple appeared to mock Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick about the size of the flag of Union in his office.

Ms Munchetty was then forced to apologize after liking the social media posts in support of the comments released.

Shortly after the Prime Minister left the studio, Mr Robinson – the former BBC political editor – sought to respond to criticism that he had been rude.

He said: “For listeners who may have been slightly offended that I told the Prime Minister to stop talking… the truth is he is a great communicator. [but] it is not a man who [always] loves the cut and push of questions and answers ”.

Speaking at a Conservative Party sidelines event this month, Ms Dorries demanded a change at the BBC, saying its staff should reflect a larger population than the people “whose moms and dads work there “.

When asked if the license fee would still be mandatory in 10 or 20 years, she replied: “I can’t look to the future. Will the BBC still be there in 10 years? I won’t. dunno.

“We cannot look to the future. It’s a very competitive environment right now.

“You have Amazon Prime, Netflix and other organizations coming up.

“This young generation coming in, they certainly watch their TV in a very different way than my generation watched theirs, so who knows where we will be?”

She insisted she didn’t want a “war” with the broadcaster, but suggested he should explain how that will change before the next license fee settlement, which covers five years from the start. ‘April 2022.

In 2014, Ms Dorries supported a campaign to decriminalize non-payment of the license fee, writing on her blog that public television was “obsolete”.

She wrote: “Such an aggressive payment and persecution structure would be more up to a Soviet-style country.

At an event hosted by the Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast last month, Ms Dorries said she had “an interesting meeting” with BBC chief executive Tim Davie and President Richard Sharp.

“The BBC’s point of view is that they will receive a settlement fee and then we will discuss how they are going to change,” the Culture Secretary said.

“My take is, ‘tell me how you’re going to change and then you’ll get the settlement fee.’

Ms Dorries highlighted a range of issues she had with the broadcaster, including a lack of working class diversity and perceived political bias.

“It’s about recognizing that access and the lack of impartiality are part of your problem,” she said.

She said there was “group thinking” within society that “excludes the origins of the working class”.

“North West, North East, Yorkshire – if you have a regional accent at the BBC it doesn’t go particularly well,” she said.

“They talk a lot about diversity, but they don’t talk about working class children and that has to change.”

When asked how to solve this problem, she replied: “It’s not about quotas, it’s just about having a fairer approach and a less elitist and less snobbish approach to who works for. you.”

MailOnline has contacted Ms Dorries and the BBC for comment.


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