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British Government Goes To War With Biased BBC

Steven Swinford and Christopher Hope, The Daily Telegraph

The future of the BBC’s licence fee is in doubt after David Cameron appointed one of the BBC’s biggest critics as Culture Secretary in a move that will be seen as an effective declaration of war on the corporation.

John Whittingdale, who has been chairman of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee since 2005, has previously said that the licence fee is “worse than a poll tax” and ultimately “unsustainable”.

Downing Street sources said that Mr Whittingdale will “sort out the BBC” ahead of the corporation’s royal charter review next year, which will set out the future of the £145.50-a-year licence fee.

Senior Conservatives said they were “furious at the BBC’s coverage” of the election campaign and accused the corporation of an “unforgivable pro-Labour bias”.

There are now concerns that the corporation’s coverage of the EU referendum in 2017 could betray a pro-EU bias.

Friends of Mr Whittingdale said he is at the very least likely to freeze the licence fee and could implement significant cuts.

He is also expected to scrap the BBC Trust, the body that oversees the corporation, after a series of scandals over its coverage and executive pay-offs.

His appointment will enable the Conservatives to push ahead with the decriminalisation of the licence fee, which was blocked in the last Parliament in the House of Lords.

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