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7 January 2010

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

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

By George Eaton

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.

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Either way, his response should be worth waiting for.

 

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