The BBC Trust’s head of media says:
UPDATE: Diane Coyle is acting chairman while a replacement is found.
UPDATE II: Patten had heart bypass surgery last month after experiencing serious chest pains. His statement in full is here.
Press Gazette has crunched the numbers and worked out that the BBC pays more money to publicity-seeking MPs for vanity appearances than every national newspaper combined. Rory Stewart trousered £8,000 for his documentary, Alan Johnson pocketed £5,317, while part-time MP and TV personality Diane Abbott has been paid £2,800. Tim Loughton got £1,500 for appearing on Have I Got News For You, as did wannabe London mayor Sadiq Khan, who probably now regrets that ill-fated idea to boost his profile.
It all adds up to £20,000 of licence fee payers’ money paid to MPs so far this year, well ahead of the £17,905.40 the entirety of Fleet Street has stumped up. If ever there was a reason for scrapping the licence fee…
A downbeat John McTernan didn’t think much of Labour’s chances in the European elections when asked by Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics today:
Brillo: “Are we inevtivably heading to European elections in which UKIP is a clear victor, Labour not a great second and the Tories a poor third?”
McTernan: “It’s got that feeling at the moment, hasn’t it. They’re certainly setting the terms of the debate and they have to be derailed by the other parties.”
Yet just two weeks ago the former Labour spinner claimed it was in the bag. In an effort to cheer up Labour supporters with little faith in Ed Miliband’s leadership he listed a “dozen reasons to be cheerful” to the Blairite faithful at Progress, McTernan boasted:
“Labour is set to win the European elections.“
Now he admits that is unlikely, what changed?
McTernan also asserted in that same article that Labour would “storm London in the borough elections.”
More bad news for McTernan, Guido’s top campaign source at CCHQ told him yesterday that he was getting more confident that the Conservatives will do better in London, where economic growth is already resurgent, than might be expected. That storm is looking to blow an ill wind for Miliband…
Earlier this month in his Sun column Guido revealed that Newsnight editor Ian Katz was attempting to force out Jeremy Paxman.
“GUIDO hears the knives are out for Newsnight star Jeremy Paxman.
Ian Katz, the groovy former deputy editor of the Guardian now in charge of the BBC news show, wants to bring in a fresher face.
Who still tunes in to watch Paxo’s pantomime interviews, where he acts like an outraged great-aunt shocked by a politician’s lack of straight answers? Newsnight of the Long Knives, indeed.”
Today Paxo has quit. You’re either in front of Guido…
Astoundingly incompetent analysis from much of the political media this evening speculating on Boris standing in Newark. Only one problem – the local Tories have already selected their candidate back in November. CCHQ have been on a by-election footing for weeks as Guido reported in The Sun two weeks ago.
Michael Crick on Channel 4 News and the BBC’s Nick Robinson as well as Norman Smith have both been speculating that Boris might stand in Newark. A little bit of investigative Googling would have revealed Robert Jenrick’s web page on conservatives.com.
And his Twitter feed:
Or the press release
Cllr Stuart Wallace, Chairman of Newark Conservative Association, said:
“The Association wish to express our thanks for the work Patrick has done for Newark and for many of his constituents individually, over the last 13 years, both as a Conservative and as an Independent MP.
“Following Patrick’s earlier decision not to stand again, we selected a superb candidate, Robert Jenrick, who has already been very active locally.
“The Association are united in support for Robert and will be campaigning to ensure that he will be elected as Newark’s next MP.”
The Daily Politics travelled to the marginal seat of Stevenage to find out if voters see Ed as the next PM. Labour supporters look away now:
Apart from the bloke who thought he was a chef, the result was definitive…
After Sajid Javid signalled that he wanted to put the issue of press regulation “to bed”, Hacked Off last night called for an EU directive to force through new laws and overrule the Culture Secretary. Evan Harris and Natalie Fenton, two of the group’s directors, endorsed a new campaign aiming to secure a petition of one million signatures and seek a diktat from Brussels to set limits on media ownership at a European level.
The campaign, which has the somewhat sinister name ‘Reclaim the Media’, is backed by the Green MP Caroline Lucas, the National Union of Journalists, the Trades Union Council and Labour’s Tom Watson, who was due to chair last night’s meeting but failed to attend after he was “unavoidably detained in his constituency”. Evan Harris’ face told you everything you need to know about the prospects for Hacked Off’s latest doomed venture…
MediaGuido was particularly interested by a series of graphs provided at the meeting. Reclaim the Media’s campaign for plurality focuses on the Murdoch and Rothermere titles, despite their own evidence showing that it is actually the BBC that enjoys unrivalled dominance in the news industry. Confused Labour MP John McDonnell suggested the motives were personal: “there are thousands of asylum seekers locked up because the government is pandering to the racism of the Daily Mail”, adding that MPs were “petrified by the bucket of sh*t that The Sun pours on you”. Yet according to their own evidence it isn’t the Mail or the Sun that threaten press plurality, it is the BBC…
North of the border the BBC has got itself in some bother this afternoon. Fair and balanced BBC News Scotland correspondent James Cook is reporting that the BBC is facing increasing pressure to explain how it can claim to be impartial on Scottish independence while it remains a member of the CBI, which is a registered backer of the No vote. The BBC Scotland correspondent approached the BBC for an answer, reporting on the BBC website that:
“The BBC is yet to comment on its position.”
Auntie is eating herself…
For years the BBC has explained its disproportionate consumption of the Guardian newspaper compared with public market share by arguing that it needs to buy more broadsheet papers than popular ones to best provide news for licence fee payers. It is not an issue of left-right bias, they claim, rather a distinction along broadsheet-popular press lines. […]
Bullingdon Boy David Dimbleby is already on the Bollinger, while the mere plebs in the Spin Room will apparently be left dry for tonight’s BBC Europe debate. Beeb cuts are biting deep for all but a few privileged old timers.
In light of this tragic news, Guido is planning on pre-gaming in the bar of the Langham Hotel opposite Broadcasting House from about 5.30:
It’s a convenient location, if a little pricey.[…]
BBC institution Nick Ross on the Daily Politics this afternoon:
“The licence fee when it comes up for revewal in two years time will be 90 years old, and as every year goes by it becomes more and more ananchronistic. In a multi channel age when people increasingly get content through computers and telephones, the TV licence fee is increasingly archaic.
Not like Tower Hamlets’ paragon of open and honest local government Lutfur Rahman to throw his toys out of the pram when journalists come calling. The Mayor has not reacted well to news of tonight’s Panorama investigation into alleged dodgy goings on in East London, sending this angry email to supporters:
Criminal investigation underway as BBC Panorama whistle-blower reveals racist and Islamophobic programme on Tower Hamlets
You may be aware that BBC Panorama is due to air a programme about Tower Hamlets next week.
Poor BBC News presenter Joanna Gosling is being made to read the Gwyneth Paltrow / Chris Martin split on loop on the BBC News Channel.
Surely they could have got her co-presenter to cover this particular story given her own current “conscious uncoupling” from Craig Oliver?[…]