A Tory Member of Parliament (MP) has told the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that its commitment to diversity is lacking in that it fails to promote political diversity.
Andrew Bridgen — the Tory MP for North West Leicestershire — made his comments in a letter he sent to the BBC’s Director-General, Lord Hall of Birkenhead. In the letter, seen by The Express, he wrote:
“If the BBC is ever to truly address the widespread perception of in-built Left-wing bias, and to end the practice of senior staff recruiting new employees in their own image, then more emphasis needs to be placed on employing staff whose political opinions are more in line with those of the public, who last year voted in a majority Conservative government.
“This is a perception backed up by the BBC recruitment policy, which advertises posts internally or through the Guardian newspaper.
“If the intention is for the BBC’s staff to better reflect the make-up of the country in terms of its gender, ethnicity and sexual preferences, then it should also reflect the country’s political make-up.”
Mr. Bridgen’s reference to other forms of diversity were a reference to new targets rolled out by the BBC in late April this year. They are aimed at ensuring that by 2020 eight per cent of all on-air and on-screen roles will be given to either LGBT or disabled people. In addition, half of all its broadcasting roles will be handed to women.
A BBC spokesman has made it clear that the corporation does not believe there is any justification for the perception of left-wing bias mentioned by Mr. Brigden.
He asserted that the public broadcaster hires people with all sorts of backgrounds, and that it is “nonsense” to say that its journalists are “anything other than impartial with their reporting.”
The spokesman cited in evidence that David Cameron’s current Cabinet contains three former BBC employees, however only one of them was a journalist — Michael Gove. Writing for The New Statesman, Roger Mosey, a former editorial director at the BBC, noted:
“I came across vanishingly few EU withdrawalists in my broadcasting life, which is at least one of the reasons why Michael Gove stood out when he was a reporter on Today. It is also hard to imagine someone with a vigorous commitment to withdrawal becoming chairman of the BBC, whereas Lord Patten’s past as a European commissioner was generally accepted.”
The other two ex-BBC employees in the Cabinet were far removed from day-to-day editorial questions, one being a former Head of Commercial Policy (Greg Clark), the other a Head of Corporate Affairs (Baroness Stowell).