Tory MP Backs Call for Referendum on Defunding the BBC

Oli Scarff/Getty Images
Oli Scarff/Getty Images

A Member of Parliament (MP) from Britain’s governing Conservative Party has backed calls for a referendum on defunding the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

Jonathan Gullis MP issued the call in the wake of Martin Bashir, a now-former BBC journalist, being found to have used fake bank statements to persuade the late Princess Diana to give what proved to be a highly damaging interview about the Royal Family’s private life to the Panorama programme.

Princess Diana’s eldest son Prince William said that the fake bank statements, which appeared to show that someone was being paid to surveil his mother, and the resulting interview “contributed significantly” to her sense of “fear, paranoia, and isolation” in her final years.

“There is serious concern across the country about the quality, impartiality and relevance of the BBC,” the Tory MP was quoted as saying in a press release from the Defund the BBC campaign.

“The Licence Fee is a considerable amount of many out of the pockets of hardworking Brits and therefore it is perfectly reasonable for people to want to have a vote on whether they want it to continue,” he said.

At present, anyone in Britain who watches live television at home — whether or not it is BBC programming — or uses the BBC’s on-demand iPlayer website is required by law to pay for a TV Licence, or else face fines backed which must be paid on pain of imprisonment.

“The BBC’s outrageous cover up of Martin Bashir’s deceit has really exposed the BBC for what it is: Arrogant, out of touch and beyond reform,” commented Defund the BBC campaign director Rebecca Ryan.

“The Licence Fee was introduced more than 70 years ago and recent polls show that more than half of Brits think the BBC is bad value.
“It is about time the British people had a say on whether they want to get rid of the Licence Fee.

“The British people voted to leave one bloated, out of touch institution in 2016. I am confident they will vote to leave another,” she added, in reference to the 2016 vote to Leave the European Union.

“Defund the BBC will now focus its efforts on securing and winning a referendum on this important issue.”

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