Guido has confirmed Matthew Moore‘s report this morning that the Today programme editor Sarah Sands has submitted her resignation, giving six months notice. After 3 years in the gruelling role she has decided she prefers programme sovereignty to the new BBC news model outlined yesterday, even if she accepts the financial logic of it. She will oversee the transition over the next six months and hand over the editorship to someone else to operate under the new BBC news model. Sands told a friend “I only came to the BBC to edit this programme, I think it is the most precious thing at the BBC.” Beeb-rexit!
“I can’t believe it has come to this.”
Ex-Labour, now Independent, MP Ian Austin’s emotional appeal for voters to back Boris Johnson over Jeremy Corbyn in the General Election.#r4Today | https://t.co/s6BnQpZL5K | @bbcnickrobinson pic.twitter.com/EpAwl1jGUN
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) November 7, 2019
Ian Austin, Gordon Brown”s former press secretary and Labour MP, says Jeremy Corbyn is unfit to be Labour leader or PM. He says the choice is between Corbyn and Johnson. Patriotic Labour voters should, he says, vote for Boris, his voice breaking with emotion Austin says “It really comes to something when I’m telling people to vote for Boris Johnson in this election.”
Jeremy Hunt has returned to our airwaves this morning, appearing on Radio 4’s Today in his first interview since his post-leadership election holiday. Boy, how Guido missed the charismatic interventions of this political titan…
Whilst the interview focussed mainly on the tensions with Iran, Hunt did proffer some thoughts on Boris’s expulsion of 21 rebels for voting for Corbyn’s “surrender bill”. Whilst calling for the party to stay united in the face of Labour’s shambolic 2019 conference, he said
“There also needs to be generosity from the 21 themselves; they stood on a platform at the last election that said ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’, and they need to understand that Boris has a mandate to take us out of the European Union. And if in the end no deal is the only way to do that, that might be what happens.”
Hunt also defended Boris’s prorogation – perhaps he is missing cabinet too much…
After 32 years, the veteran broadcaster signed off his final edition of the Today Programme. Listen to it here…
Following Guido’s reporting of ERG outrage at BBC Today’s Jim Naughtie slurring the ERG as far-right types equivalent to the French Front National he apologised last night:
“I was wrong to say in a live discussion this morning that members of the ERG would be happy in a far-right party. That was not my intention, because I don’t believe it. I was trying to make the point that if our parties fracture in some way after Brexit – on Right and Left – we could see a political landscape emerge that looks more like the rest of Europe than it does at the moment. But my words were ill-chosen and I’m sorry for any offence caused”.
The ERG’s Andrew Bridgen responds “I was grateful for Jim Naugthie’s ‘almost apology’, as the referendum demonstrated the ERG’s views are those of the mainstream majority.” Quite.
Guido understands that Nick Robinson decided that he was very interested in what was on his computer monitor rather than the studio guest during this morning’s interview with Dr Victoria Bateman. The eccentric naked Remainiac campaigner called on Jacob Rees-Mogg to debate her naked. Over to you Jacob…
UPDATE: We now have video…
‘I invite Jacob Rees-Mogg to a naked debate about Brexit!’ 🗣️
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) February 8, 2019