Tim Davie, the managing director of the BBC, has been criticized by a Tory MP for failing to include images of union jack in the company’s annual report.
After last week’s row between the Tories and the BBC over patriotic symbols, James Wild, MP for North West Norfolk, told the company chief his constituents “would expect to see more than one flag In the 268-page report.
Davie said the absence of a flag in a report was “a strange metric” by which patriotism in society could be measured, and pointed out that a union jack had flown over Broadcasting House in central London.
Critics followed an argument last week after BBC breakfast presenter Charlie Stayt mocked Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick at the end of a morning interview.
“I think your flag is not up to standard size government interview measurements,” Stayt told the cabinet minister of the red-white-blue cloth hanging from a pole in the far corner. away from Jenrick’s office.
Referring to the row over Stayt’s comments at a public accounts committee meeting, Wild asked Davie, “In your own 268 page report last year, do you know how many union flags were in? one of the graphics? “
Davie replied, “In all the briefings I have received for this meeting, this was not one of them. “
«Zéro», this Wild.
A former special adviser married to House of Lords leader Natalie Evans, Wild said: “Maybe in this year’s annual report you could maybe include pictures around the union flag. This might be welcomed by some of my constituents.
Davie, a former candidate for Conservative Party adviser, said the company takes great pride in being British and carrying the flag.
“We have been selling Brits overseas and UK creative industries for many years and generate strong exports as a result. I’m extremely proud of it, and we have the jack union above the building proudly flying.
“It’s not just the flag, let’s face it, it’s about the UK and us moving around and building business for the country,” he said.
Critics of the company, including several Tory MPs, have claimed that the Stayt incident shows that the BBC is ashamed of its ties to the UK.
Stayt co-host Naga Munchetty apologized on Friday for “liking” the tweets that mocked the use of flags by government ministers. Another BBC presenter, Huw Edward, said he was forced to delete a tweet from the Welsh flag which mocked a fight over the jack union.
Davie has been trying to curb his staff’s social media excesses since joining the broadcaster last year.
In October, tough new guidelines were introduced, prohibiting staff from posting “controversial” opinions online or engaging in “virtue signals.”
During the committee session, BBC COO Glyn Isherwood revealed that the broadcaster’s income from the over-75s will exceed £ 400million this year.
The universal right to a free TV license ended last year for the age group and only pension credit recipients do not have to pay.
Last week Davie said those over 75 would not be threatened with legal action for non-payment of license fees.