A BBC radio presenter vented his anger on air after losing his slot on a mid-Morning show because he is engaged to a Conservative MP standing for re-election.
John Darvall proposed to Bristol North West MP Charlotte Leslie on Christmas Day, two months after the pair began dating having first met on his show four years ago, the Bath Chronicle reports.
Having kept the decision quiet, the twice-divorced presenter revealed his anger during a phone in regarding the BBC’s decision to fire controversial presenter Jeremy Clarkson.
“Trust me I have a lot of reasons myself to be angry with the BBC at the moment,” he told one caller, before responding to a call for him to replace to Top Gear presenter saying: “I am coming off this programme tomorrow, so I might consider something of a career departure.”
The decision has been taken due to “heightened sensitivities” and to avoid accusations of a conflict of interests, the BBC says, and insist Mr Darvall will be back after May. When questioned by another caller, the presenter said:
“It’s to do with the election and protecting BBC impartiality. It’s not my decision.
“I’m honouring what the BBC have asked me to do and I sincerely hope to be back after the general election, and the BBC have sort of said that I might possibly be, barring any unforeseen circumstances.
“A true BBC management meeting.”
BBC bosses decided that the presenter, who joined the show in 2011, would have to move to a less news driven afternoon slot because his fiancée is standing for re-election in a constituency which is covered by BBC Radio Bristol. Although the decision was taken some time ago, Darvall had remained silent on the subject until the listener phone in on his last morning show until after the election when his bubble of anger seemed to burst.
Ms Leslie defended her fiancé saying that he had “always been completely professional and impartial”.
“It would be extraordinary if he were not allowed to return to his programme after the General Election, and I fully expect he will be,” she said.
“John has always been completely professional and impartial and I understand this is being done to protect him and the BBC for the few weeks of the final election period.”
“He’s always given me quite a tough time, as he’s a robust interviewer. I always enjoyed it because there was always a lot of banter.
“I like the fact that we don’t agree and if I ever get too Tory-Tory, he’ll bash me. He’ll dissect my arguments, and I enjoy being challenged.
“My parents always said you could tell we got on well on air. He came for tea and that was it.”
The BBC issued a statement saying they have “every confidence in the professionalism and impartiality of all our presenters and staff” but explained, “given the heightened sensitivities of an election period John Darvall will move from the Mid-morning Show to present the Afternoon Show on BBC Radio Bristol.”