BBC reporters should be demanding that John Whittingdale be sacked, not kowtowing to him behind the scenes.
Other news sources have already revealed that Whittingdale had a relationship with a dominatrix that left him open to … let’s call it ‘persuasion’ … by leading figures in the UK’s printed news media.
They also showed that he had another relationship in which he showed a former topless model cabinet papers – a major breach of his duties as a minister.
Now it has emerged that he accepted the hospitality of a lapdancing club – along with the … let’s call them ‘ministrations’ … of two dancers – and then spoke in Parliament against regulations restricting the opening of such clubs.
Whittindale has insisted it was an official visit in 2008 as part of an inquiry by the Culture, Media and Sport select committee into new laws cracking down on such establishments. But the visit was not recorded in Parliamentary records and he did not mention it in his speech.
It might not be ‘cash for questions’ but he certainly seems to have accepted payment in kind for them.
These are serious offences by a cabinet minister, yet everybody seems to be ignoring them. Whittingdale should be dismissed from his position, and an investigation launched into legal proceedings against him.
Shadow culture secretary Maria Eagle has accused her opposite number John Whittingdale of “bullying” the BBC over Europe.
In a far-reaching defence of the BBC, Eagle said on Tuesday that Whittingdale had “very clearly sought to undermine the independence of the BBC” as part of a government that had an “ideological dislike” of the comporation.
“He has bullied the corporation over its editorial line on Europe, and continued his habit of dictating to the BBC what content it should and should not be commissioning,” she told the Voice of the Listener and Viewer conference in London.
Last June Whittingdale, who has since come out in support of the campaign to leave the EU, wrote to the chair of the BBC Trust saying it must be impartial in covering the referendum and act quickly to tackle complaints about “erroneous views”. The letter was part of an effort to remind broadcasters and regulator Ofcom about how rules on impartiality should apply to TV coverage.
The BBC has insisted that negotiations over its new charter, which are being overseen by Whittingdale, will not influence its coverage of the referendum.
Eagle also criticised the government over reports earlier this week that it is considering forcing the BBC to sell off its stake in UKTV, the commercial broadcaster it jointly owns with US network Scripps through its commercial arm BBC Worldwide.
Eagle said: “It is just not on for the government to undermine the commercial activity the BBC undertakes to keep the TV licence cost down. A forced sale of this stake would be a huge blow to the corporation, given that it provides about a third of BBC Worldwide’s profits.
“What possible good can it do to strip the BBC of its commercial profits?”
Throughout her speech, Eagle repeatedly referred to research showing most of the public are broadly supportive of the BBC, including a YouGov survey that showed 62% of over-60s were “suspicious” of the government’s plans for the corporation.
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