Yesterday in the House of Commons the West Worthing MP, Peter Bottomley was one of a group of three MPs that took part in a debate about Channel 4 under the headline of “Privatisation of Channel 4”. His call was very clear and he is the Father of the House of Commons and also the most senior Conservative MP. Along with Peter Bottomley the other two MPs that were speaking on the debate were Peter Grant of SNP and Lucy Powell, the Shadow Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. The Minister that took part in the debate was Julia Lopez who is the Parliamentary Secretary in the Cabinet Office. The debate can be seen here. There was a piece in the National newspaper also yesterday that can be seen here and they stated
CHANNEL 4 has slapped down Nadine Dorries over a claim she made about privatising the channel in the Commons. The broadcaster issued a clarification correcting comments the Culture Secretary made in parliament in Westminster on Thursday. She defended plans to privatise Channel 4, claiming the channel itself backed plans to change how it was funded. Dorries told MPs: “They want to raise investment, they want to invest in more content.”
But Channel 4’s press team have hit back at the Culture Secretary’s claims. The broadcaster tweeted: “A proposal was made, in response to a request from [the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport], showing how C4 could potentially raise a small amount of outside capital. C4 is in excellent financial health & does not want or need to raise outside capital to fund its future plans.”
So back to the Parliament the comment from Peter Bottomley was
The Secretary of State said that she wanted to remove the straitjacket from Channel 4. Except for the opportunity to borrow, which I did not know Channel 4 had asked for, the only straitjacket is the public service remits. Will those be reduced in any way?
Can the Minister kindly tell the House why the aim to compete with Amazon and Netflix should be one of the purposes of Channel 4, especially if either Netflix or Amazon, or a similar-sized foreign-owned organisation, might buy Channel 4?
The fact that the most senior Conservative in Parliament is opposed to the Channel 4 selling issue along with many people in the nation and of course the other politicians should lead the Government to reverse their decision. Sadly they won’t listen to people like Peter Bottomley, let alone the Labour and SNP party leaders. Peter Grant from SNP started with the comment
When the Secretary of State was asked by the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee why she wanted to privatise Channel 4, she said that it was because it was costing the taxpayer too much in subsidies. I think she was the only person in the room who was labouring under that particular delusion.
And Lucy Powell began by stating
Yet again, the Secretary of State fails to come to the Dispatch Box herself to defend one of her own flagship policies, despite publishing a media White Paper and the Government consultation and tweeting over recess that she was selling Channel 4 off without coming to this place.