Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Hunt welcomes admission that Lord Sugar's role risks BBC impartiality

The BBC Trust has admitted that Lord Sugar’s role as Government Business Tsar poses a "greater than normal risk of impartiality" - and that the channel could be forced to reschedule The Apprentice if there is a General Election next year.

In response to a complaint about Lord Sugar’s role on the Apprentice, the BBC Trust accepted "there may have been a public perception that the BBC's impartiality…had been undermined."

The Trust also said that "the combination of Sir Alan's roles as star of a BBC entertainment show, Government Adviser and peer with the closeness to the next general election poses a greater than normal risk to the impartiality, integrity and independence of the BBC in relation to the broadcasting of The Apprentice and Junior Apprentice next year."

Jeremy Hunt, the Shadow Culture Secretary, welcomed the confession, stressing, “The BBC Trust has admitted what we have known all along: that Alan Sugar's Government appointment risks the impartiality, integrity and independence of the BBC.”

He added, “Whatever restrictions the BBC seeks to put on his political activities Lord Sugar is taking the Labour whip and has an official Government role. It’s amazing that the Trust has therefore not explained why licence fee-payers should fund a programme hosted by someone who will help formulate, promote, and endorse Government policies.”

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