British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed Nadine Dorries as the country’s Culture Secretary.
The appointment is controversial, with Dorries regularly criticizing the BBC as biased in its presentation of political news.
An MP for Mid Bedfordshire since 2005, Dorries was first given the post of Minister of State for Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and Patient Safety in 2019, and will replace Oliver Dowden as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. Dowden is assuming the role of co-chairman of the Conservative Party and minister without portfolio.
Dorries has been a vocal opponent of the BBC on Twitter, referring in 2018 to the public service broadcaster as “a biased left-wing organization that is seriously failing in its political representation, top to bottom”.
In 2014, the MP also called the levy – which has long been a target of Johnson – “a tax on TV ownership” and “a completely outdated concept”.
In response to the appointment, BBC Director General Tim Davie told the RTS Cambridge Convention: “I wouldn’t be too distracted by that; it’s about sitting down with ministers and teams and really getting into it, I’m not distracted by that. I think we have a strong case for investing in the BBC.
In his new role, Dorries will oversee the appointment of a new chairman of Ofcom, negotiations with the BBC over licensing fees and play a role in senior appointments.
The appointment of staunch Johnson supporters raised eyebrows within the party, with The Guardian quoting a Tory MP who called it a “colossal mistake”.
A vocal opponent of abortion and same-sex marriage, Dorries was suspended by the Conservative Party in 2012 after appearing on the ITV reality series. I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out Of Here without informing the local elected officials.
The MP also sparked controversy for her plea for abstinence in sex education, while she also argued that the burqa worn by Muslim women has no place in the UK.
Away from politics, Dorries is a novelist and has written three books based in her hometown of Liverpool. They were poorly received, however, with a review from The Daily Telegraph calling his first book “the worst novel I’ve read in 10 years”.