Cabinet Minister Nadine Dorries has privately expressed anger at her allies after Boris Johnson was told 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 Ofcom complaints this month -this.
The impassioned interview saw the MP for Mid-Bedfordshire, who has previously called the BBC outlining plans to tackle impartiality, say in private allies: ‘Nick Robinson cost the BBC a lot of money’, The Sunday time reports.
Although it is not clear where Ms Dorries expressed her anger at the presenter, the threat over the money is believed to focus on the Minister’s role in overseeing the future of BBC licensing fees and on how Mr Robinson’s meeting with the Prime Minister could affect the deal with the company. to have.
It seems the minister, who has previously described state television as “more in line with a Soviet-style country”, is likely to play hardball in future negotiations after the interview.
Cabinet minister Nadine Dorries, who took over from Oliver Dowden in the cabinet reshuffle in September, told allies: ‘Nick Robinson has cost the BBC a lot of money’
The Prime Minister’s exchange with Nick Robinson on the Today show prompted 558 complaints from Ofcom this month
In her first meeting with Tim Davie, the BBC’s chief executive, and the company’s chairman, Richard Sharp, last month, the culture secretary reportedly called for reforms and greater scrutiny of the balance information programs within the company.
She also called on BBC bosses to tackle prejudice and elitism in society.
A source told The Times: “They were both stunned and gulped down their tea. They thought she was just going to roll over.
It comes as the BBC revealed it had received 558 bias objections to Radio 4’s lively Today program between the Prime Minister and Nick Robinson earlier this month.
The interview at the Tory conference in Manchester immediately began tense, with Mr Robinson saying how much time had passed since Mr Johnson last appeared, prompting him to cheekily reply ‘Does it really feel so long time?”
During the interview, Mr Johnson was cut off 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’m very happy to stop talking’, before Mr Robinson asked him another question about business taxation.
After a series of other testy exchanges, Mr Robinson ended the interview and told the Prime Minister: ‘Thank you for speaking on the Today program and also allowing the occasional question.’
The politician replied, “It’s very nice of you to let me speak…I thought that was the point of having me on your show.”
After the interview, Tory MPs complained about the way Mr Johnson had been treated, with John Redwood tweeting: ‘When the Prime Minister had a good answer to a question the BBC Today program tried to stop him by asking him a different question.”
During the interview, Mr Johnson was cut off during a response on the supply chain crisis by Mr Robinson
The Mid-Bedfordshire MP previously called on the BBC to come forward with plans to tackle impartiality
“BBC investigators have to 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, MP for South West Wiltshire, called Mr Robinson’s approach “slapstick”.
He said: “The BBC’s rudeness magnifies the political debate. Rarely gets the ”gotcha moment” his overpaid experts crave.
Bias at the BBC
The BBC has been repeatedly accused of bias by critics
In July, it emerged the company had received a record 500,000 complaints from viewers in a year amid 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 to be shaped by one particular perspective”.
The list of complaints was topped by Emily Maitlis with her monologue on Newsnight about Dominic Cummings in May 2020.
Ms Maitlis, when discussing Mr Cummings’ trip from London to Durham during the first national lockdown, claimed the former adviser to Boris Johnson had ‘broken the rules’ adding: ‘The country can see that, and he’s shocked that the government can’t. ”
His speech subsequently sparked 23,674 complaints and broadcasting watchdog Ofcom warned the BBC that presenters must not “inadvertently appear to be expounding 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 over the size of the flag of Union in his office.
Ms Munchetty was later forced to apologize after liking social media posts in support of the on-air comments.
Shortly after the Prime Minister’s departure from the studio, Mr Robinson – the BBC’s former 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 an excellent communicator [but] he is not a man [always] loves the cut and thrust of question and answer”.
Speaking at a Conservative Party side event this month, Ms Dorries demanded changes at the BBC, saying its staff needed to reflect a wider demographic than people “whose mothers and fathers there working”.
When asked if the levy would still be mandatory in 10 or 20 years, she replied, “I can’t look to the future. Will the BBC still be here in 10 years? I do not know.
“We cannot look to the future. It’s a very competitive environment right now.
“You have Amazon Prime, Netflix and other bods coming down the line.
“This younger generation coming in is definitely watching their TV in a very different way than how my generation watched their TV, so who knows where we’ll be?”
She insisted she didn’t want a ‘war’ with the broadcaster, but suggested he should explain how that would change before the next license fee settlement, which covers the five years from April 2022.
In 2014 Ms Dorries backed 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 in keeping with a Soviet-style country.
At an event hosted by Telegraph’s Chopper’s Politics podcast last month, Ms Dorries said she had “an interesting meeting” with BBC Director General Tim Davie and Chairman Richard Sharp.
“The BBC’s perspective is that they will receive a settlement fee and then we will talk about how they will change,” the culture secretary said.
“My view 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 acknowledging that access and lack of fairness is part of your problem,” she said.
She said there was ‘groupthink’ within society that ‘excludes working class circles’.
“North West, North East, Yorkshire – if you have a regional accent at the BBC it doesn’t go down particularly well,” she said.
“They talk about a lot of things to do with diversity, but they don’t talk about working-class kids and that needs 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.