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‘Nick Robinson has cost the BBC a lot of money’, furious Tory Culture Minister says

“Nick Robinson has cost the BBC a lot of money,” the Tory Culture Secretary has reportedly claimed, after a journalist told the Prime Minister to “stop talking”.

The Times reported that MP Nadine Dorries is furious after Nick Robinson made the comment to Boris Johnson during an interview.

Johnson was being asked questions on the Today show on BBC Radio 4 by Robinson during the Conservative Party conference this month.

The BBC journalist interjected during the interview after what he reportedly felt was an evasive response by the Prime Minister on fuel and food shortages.

READ MORE: Laura Kuenssberg is rumoured to step down – but who could replace her?

One cabinet minister reportedly said: “You would never have got Tony Blair being spoken to like that. It was completely unacceptable.”

It comes as Dorries issued the BBC with an ultimatum, telling bosses at the BBC she would not talk with them about the license fee settlement until after they put forward reforms to deal with what she perceives to be bias and elitism.

The BBC director-general Tim Davie is now set to make a “significant intervention” on impartiality in the coming weeks.

The Tories want BBC director-general Tim Davie to intervene on impartiality

After Dorries made her demands to the BBC, the Times reported a source familiar with the discussion as saying: “They were both stunned and gulped down their tea.

“They thought she was just going to roll over.”

Dorries has insisted the corporation deliver plans to address impartiality, “group think” and “moral superior” within the BBC.

The Times reported an ally of the minister as saying: “She is fed up of seeing Newsnight and the Today programme leading their bulletins on the stories which make the front page of The Guardian. She thinks there should be much more transparency.”

Some at the BBC have been angered by the treatment from the Tory government, with one insider reportedlysaying: “This is a new secretary of state who perhaps hasn’t realised that the constitutional independence of the BBC means that even at a time — in fact, especially at a time — when the licence fee is being negotiated, it is not the job of party politicians to act like a judge on Strictly, giving marks for the quality of interviews.”

READ MORE: Gerry Hassan: The change BBC must make if it’s to serve Scotland properly

The UK Government and the BBC are currently in negotiations for the license fee, which is expected to result in a real-terms pay cut to the annual sum.

The Culture Minister is also taking aim at the broadcaster over diversity, with the BBC accused of limiting working-class kids from TV careers due to “snooty” bosses.

A source close to the minister told The Times that while the BBC’s diversity strategy considered race and LGBT issues, it did not cover gender or background.

Both the BBC and Dorries declined to comment.



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