Parliament should have a role in appointing next BBC chair, says Labour spokesman

Shadow culture secretary Ivan Lewis says Tory "contempt" for BBC means appointment must be independe

The shadow culture secretary Ivan Lewis has called for parliament to have a greater say in appointing the next BBC chairman.

In a letter to the culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, he said considering the Tory "contempt" for the broadcaster, involvement of the all-party culture, media and sport select committee in interviewing the final short-list of two candidates could help de-politicise the process.

Lewis argued that the Conservatives' "ideological contempt" for the BBC meant that it was critical that the appointment of the BBC chairman should be done independently.

He also said that the new approach would demonstrate Hunt's seriousness in initiating a new-style of politics and ensuring that the new chair is appointed on merit and free of political bias.

"It is essential the new chairman of the BBC Trust is a strong voice for the licence fee payer and totally committed to protecting the BBC's independence," Lewis insisted.

Labour insiders believe that the government is keen on appointing former Conservative party chairman Lord Patten of Barnes to the £110,000 a year job.

They are particularly concerned because Patten, being a political placement, may insist on several cutbacks.

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