Tories ‘would end BBC Trust’

By politics.co.uk staff

The Tories may quickly dismantle the BBC Trust if they won the next election, according to media reports.

A new “licence fee payers’ trust” would replace the old body, which Conservatives have long berated for its dual role of scrutinising and celebrating the BBC.

The report, by the Times, seems to confirm long-standing Tory policy towards the BBC.

If implemented, the policy could see BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons leave office well before his planned April 2011 date.

But shadow media secretary jeremy Hunt told the Daily Politics today that any plans to shake up the BBC would only come into effect in 2016, after the review of the BBC charter.

It appears the Conservatives wish to install a non-executive chairman to work alongside the BBC director general, Mark Thompson.

Liberal Democrat media spokesman Don Foster said: “When the BBC Trust was proposed, the Tories were silent. Only the Liberal Democrats argued its dual role as flag waver and regulator was ridiculous.

“The BBC Trust needs to be replaced but with a new, truly independent regulator for all public service broadcasting.”

At the end of last year, Greg Dyke expounded similar ideas to those being reported. The BBC Trust should be scrapped and Ofcom allowed to take over its remit, he argued.

But that clashes sharply with professed Tory plans to strip Ofcom of some of its responsibilities.