BBC Question Time sometimes ‘unbalanced’ admits Sharp
The former editor of the Daily Mail, who is a critic of the Beeb, is said to be the Prime Minister’s choice for the role at the regulator. The move is reportedly part of Mr Johnson’s plans to overhaul the broadcaster.
The Guardian cited Whitehall and media sources as claiming the Prime Minister is preparing to announce the appointment.
Mr Dacre stepped down as the Daily Mail’s editor in 2018 and is now chairman and editor-in-chief of Associated Newspapers, which publishes the newspaper.
The Sunday Times previously reported that the Brexiteer was in talks with Downing Street about the Ofcom role after the Prime Minister “wooed” him over drinks at Number 10 in February.
Maggie Carver was appointed as Ofcom’s interim chair following the departure of Lord Burns at the end of the year.
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It comes as Richard Sharp’s appointment as the next BBC chairman was approved by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee earlier this month.
It followed reports that ex-Daily Telegraph editor and biographer of Margaret Thatcher, Lord Moore, was in line for the job.
Former Goldman Sachs banker Mr Sharp admitted the BBC’s culture needed to be “rebuilt” as he appeared before MPs.
He told the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee: “Clearly some of the problems the BBC has had recently are really quite terrible and reflect a culture that needs to be rebuilt so everyone that works at the BBC and cherishes the BBC feels proud to work there.
“Then in my view that would produce a better output inevitably.”
Mr Sharp denied the BBC’s coverage of Brexit had been unbalanced but said there had been times when representation had been under par.
He said: “I believe there were some occasions when the Brexit representation was unbalanced.
“So if you ask me if I think Question Time seemed to have more Remainers than Brexiteers, the answer is yes, but the breadth of the coverage I thought was incredibly balanced, in a highly toxic environment that was extremely polarised.”
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Mr Sharp also warned of the importance of serving the BBC’s regional audience, telling MPs: “If the BBC doesn’t mean anything to somebody in Sunderland then it is failing.”
He added that he was not in favour of the decriminalisation of the licence fee, describing it as “the least worst” method of funding the BBC.
He said: “The question is, ‘Is the BBC value for money?’ Yes, it is. How do we raise that money? That is certainly an issue.
“I happen to be satisfied looking at it in a relatively superficial way that the current process is fit for purpose.”
It comes as the BBC is facing pressure over issues including the licence fee and bias.
The broadcaster sparked a huge backlash when it scrapped free TV licences for most over-75s last year.
Campaign group Defund The BBC has amassed nearly 100,000 Twitter followers since it launched last June.
Express.co.uk has contacted Downing Street and the DCMS for comment.
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