BBC slammed by Conservative MP Lee Anderson
Lord Dyson’s report last week criticised the methods of journalist Mr Bashir in order to secure his bombshell 1995 Panorama interview with Princess Diana. The report found Mr Bashir had faked bank statements that were used to suggest Diana was under surveillance, which helped him land the world-exclusive interview in which the late princess spoke about her failed marriage to Prince Charles. Lord Dyson also added this was covered up by a “woefully ineffective” internal investigation in 1996.
The findings of the report prompted a furious Lee Anderson, who is MP for Ashfield, to state he has now “ripped up his licence fee” and will no longer pay another penny towards the annual £159 payment.
Mr Anderson added he lashed out after being angry at Britons losing trust in the broadcasting corporation, but not having a choice over whether they want to pay for the fee.
He told Express.co.uk: “The BBC must be the only state-funded broadcasting corporation in the world that works against its own Government.
“We have seen through the Brexit debate and through the pandemic that the BBC only has one agenda and that is to undermine Government at every opportunity.
The BBC has been criticised over the licence fee payment
“The residents of Ashfield should have a choice as to whether or not they have to pay for a service that many of them no longer trust or want to watch.
“I would never tell my residents not to pay but what I would say is that I will support any campaign that leads to my residents having the choice as to whether or not they pay for a service they never use.”
His comments came after initially saying he had “ripped up” his licence fee during a debate in the House of Commons on Monday.
He said at the time: “The findings of the Dyson Report come as no surprise to the residents in Ashfield, who have lost all confidence in the BBC.
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Mr Bashir faked bank statements to suggest Diana was under surveillance
“I personally have ripped up my TV licence and they will not be getting another penny from me, ever.
“The once-great BBC is wrong and my constituents should not have to pay for it if they do not use it.
“So does my right honourable friend agree with me, that one way to make BBC behave in the future is to make it a subscription service?”
Responding to his question the Minister of State for Media and Data, John Whittingdale, said Mr Anderson was “right” that the BBC had “lost touch”.
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Mr Bashir is still “working out a short notice period” at the corporation
He added it now faced a great challenge winning back the confidence of its audience.
Mr Whittingdale added licensing will remain until 2027, by guarantee of the BBC’s Royal Charter, but also said there will be an ongoing debate into the TV licence.
BBC director-general Tim Davie admitted yesterday that Mr Bashir is still “working out a short notice period” at the corporation.
He also said that reform at the BBC needs to continue “at pace”, saying the organisation had made changes since 1995.
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He said: “We’ve had a number of new editorial guidelines going through the system. And I have say I’m very proud of the BBC today and how it operates.
“But I think you have to reflect on this. It was very, very serious.”
Last year, Mr Davie also said he was opposed to a subscription-based service, despite competition from rival streaming services including Amazon Prime, Netflix and Disney+.
He said: “For the avoidance of doubt, I do not want a subscription BBC that serves the few.
Princess Diana spoke about her failed marriage to Prince Charles in the BBC interview
“We could make a decent business out of it, and I suspect it could do quite well in certain postcodes, but it would make us just another media company serving a specific group.”
Following the Lord Dyson report, the BBC board announced that it will now launch a review into the effectiveness of the broadcaster’s editorial policies and governance.
In a statement, the BBC board admitted it hopes to ensure the “mistakes of the past” are not repeated.
It said: “We accepted Lord Dyson’s findings in full and reiterate the apology we have offered to all those affected by the failings identified.
Mr Anderson said he “ripped up” his licence fee
“We recognise the impact that the events it describes has had on so many people, not least those whose lives were personally affected by what happened.
“We also acknowledge that audiences had a right to expect better from the BBC.”
Express.co.uk has contacted the BBC for a comment.