BBC criticised for flag ‘sneering’ by commentator
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Sir Robbie was formerly communications director at No10 when Theresa May in No10 and was an eager supporter of Brexit, often pushing the Prime Minister to be tougher in negotiations. He is also the brother of the current schools minister, Nick Gibb.
Sir Robbie spent 25 years at the BBC before taking up the Government role but has been an outspoken critic of the national broadcaster ever since.
He has accused the corporation of failing in its duty to remain independent and for not reflecting the UK as a whole.
Since leaving frontline politics, Sir Robbie has written articles criticising the broadcaster, particularly about its supposedly “woke” staff.
Upon his appointment to the BBC board, he said: “Throughout my time at the BBC and since leaving I have always believed that impartiality should be the BBC’s number one priority because it is so critical to audience trust.
“The Corporation has a big job to reform and make sure it once again becomes the gold standard for broadcasting impartiality – I am privileged to have the chance to play a part in helping the BBC achieve that.”
He has been particularly critical of Radio 4’s Today programme, accusing it of being “trapped by its own woke group think”.
He added it paints a “picture of Britain that is monstrously out of touch”.
When he was communications director he was accused of launching a Government boycott against the Today programme.
“The BBC has been culturally captured by the woke-dominated group think of some of its own staff,” he wrote in the Telegraph last year.
“There is a default Left-leaning attitude from a metropolitan workforce mostly drawn from a similar social and economic background.”
He will start in his new role as the board member for England on May 7.
He was appointed to the role by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Earlier this year the Department also appointed Brexiteer and former Conservative party donor Richard Sharp to chairman of the board.
Mr Sharp has admitted to donating approximately £400,000 to the Tories in the past 20 years, including plus £2,500 at the 2019 general election.
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Appearing in front of a committee of MPs ahead of taking on the role, Mr Sharp said he believed the broadcaster had at points failed to remain impartial at some points during its Brexit coverage.
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.”
He added: “There have been studies done and I think there’s been some acknowledgement that some aspects of the Brexit coverage, from time-to-time, was unbalanced.”
In September last year another Conservative took on a senior role at the BBC with Tim Davie taking over from Lord Tony Hall as director-general.
The former chief executive of the BBC’s commercial arm, BBC Studios, once ran to be a Tory councillor in Hammersmith and was deputy chairman of the party’s local branch.
Sir Robbie has praised Mr Davie for his work on restoring the BBC’s reputation since taking on role of director-general.
“I have faith that Mr Davie will make this work,” he wore.
“His decisive early intervention over the farcical banning of singing Prom favourites and his clear understanding of why impartiality must be the number one priority for the BBC have won him praise from ministers and BBC staff alike.”
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