Saturday, 26 Sep 2020

Tory MP steps up calls to scrap BBC licence fee ‘politically correct nanny state!’

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Andrea Jenkyns said viewers were fed up paying the annual £157.50 fee to a broadcaster, which was starting to behave like a “politically correct nanny state”. BBC bosses are coming under growing pressure to justify the fee amid rows over scrapping free licences for over-75s, presenter salaries, political bias and accusations of “woke culture”.

I think the BBC has had its monopoly for too long now

Andrea Jenkyns

Tim Davie, the BBC’s new director-general, has been brought in and has vowed to make immediate changes.

But Ms Jenkyns said the time had now arrived for wholesale reform at the corporation.

She said: “I think the BBC has had its monopoly for too long now.”

She continued: “It is inherently leftist and pushing that agenda all the time – I know the number of interviews I’ve done where they’re just so biased.

“And I feel they are also teetering on the cancel culture as well which they shouldn’t be doing.

“If every penny of taxpayers money goes to the BBC or any public sector organisation it should have scrutiny.”

She said the recent row over the Last Night of the Proms and the farcical indecision over the inclusion of traditional songs such as Land Of Hope And Glory and Rule, Britannia! – there were eventually played and sung in full at the Royal Albert Hall last night – had highlighted the problems at the heart of the organisation.

She said: “They should be a beacon of light for British culture – it is the British Broadcasting Corporation – rather than trying to be this nanny state, politically correct role which they have being doing recently.

“This has got to change so let’s just get on and defund the BBC.”

Ms Jenkyns said voters in her Morley and Outwood constituency in West Yorkshire did not want to see the BBC closed down but were becoming increasingly frustrated by the service they received from the broadcaster.

She said: “The majority who write to me are very frustrated on two levels: one is the licence fee, which is tax-payers’ hard-earned money, and the second thing is the bias of the BBC. It’s gone on for far too long unchallenged.”

Ms Jenkyns made her comments as the Government prepares to announce its response to a consultation on decriminalising licence fee evasion.

The BBC has warned that switching to a civil system would cost the broadcaster more than £200 million a year.

A consultation has evaluated whether criminal sanctions for the non-payment of the licence fee should be replaced by an alternative enforcement scheme.

Ms Jenkyns said: “It’s deeply regressive to give legal privilege to the BBC regarding the licence fee because it’s always going to be the poorest in society that are going to end up in the magistrates’ court for non-payment.

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“Why should we give legal privilege to the BBC? It’s wrong.

“They must be challenged to get with the times now and we need a much better system than the one we have at the moment.

“We’ve got a majority in Parliament now so now is the time to tackle these issues.”

The BBC has said the current system to tackle TV licence evasion “is effective in ensuring payment with very few people ever going to prison”.

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