With Ross gone will the licence-fee rebels pay up?

Jonathan Ross's resignation may lead Charles Moore to end his boycott

In 2008, soon after Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand's ill-fated phone calls to Andrew Sachs, a small band of conservatives, led by the Telegraph columnist Charles Moore, announced that they would refuse to pay the licence fee in protest at the corporation's decision to keep Ross on.

With Ross announcing his departure from the BBC today, can we expect the rebels to pay up? Moore insisted that he would refuse to pay the licence fee until the BBC terminated Ross's contract. The presenter's voluntary departure may not be enough to satisfy the High Tory.

But given that the BBC has allowed Moore to appear on Any Questions? since his boycott began (one wonders whether they deducted £142.50 from his fee), executives may resonably hope that he will now stump up the cash.

It was also the BBC that was forced to pay £45,000 in damages to the Muslim Council of Britain after Moore appeared on Question Time and falsely accused the body of supporting the killing and kidnapping of British soldiers in Iraq.

Either way, his response should be worth waiting for.

 

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Tony Blair won't endorse the Labour leader - Jeremy Corbyn's fans are celebrating

The thrice-elected Prime Minister is no fan of the new Labour leader. 

Labour heavyweights usually support each other - at least in public. But the former Prime Minister Tony Blair couldn't bring himself to do so when asked on Sky News.

He dodged the question of whether the current Labour leader was the best person to lead the country, instead urging voters not to give Theresa May a "blank cheque". 

If this seems shocking, it's worth remembering that Corbyn refused to say whether he would pick "Trotskyism or Blairism" during the Labour leadership campaign. Corbyn was after all behind the Stop the War Coalition, which opposed Blair's decision to join the invasion of Iraq. 

For some Corbyn supporters, it seems that there couldn't be a greater boon than the thrice-elected PM witholding his endorsement in a critical general election. 

Julia Rampen is the digital news editor of the New Statesman (previously editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog). She has also been deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines. 

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