Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
  2. Media
22 January 2023

The BBC’s unbalanced panel

Viewers of Laura Kuenssberg’s programme were greeted by the sight of Rachel Johnson, Iain Duncan Smith and Tesco chairman John Allan.

By The Chatterer

Even by this government’s standards, today’s headlines make for startling reading: Nadhmi Zahawi has tacitly admitted he paid a penalty to HMRC after an “error” over his taxes (perhaps negotiated while he was serving as chancellor); meanwhile, BBC chairman Richard Sharp reportedly helped to arrange a guarantee on a loan of up to £800,000 for Boris Johnson weeks before the former PM recommended him for the role. 

Crucially, Sharp “did not disclose his involvement in Johnson’s finances to the [appointments] panel. Nor did he inform the BBC, and the matter was not disclosed during his pre-appointment hearing before a House of Commons select committee in February 2021.”

So what panel did the BBC deem appropriate on its flagship politics show this morning? Viewers of Laura Kuenssberg’s programme were greeted by the sight of John Allan, the chairman of Tesco, Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith and… Rachel Johnson, the former prime minister’s sister.

The BBC is hardly renowned for its politically representative panels but The Chatterer is still stunned by its gall. Will someone please bring back Joe Lycett?

Select and enter your email address Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
THANK YOU

Content from our partners
The truth about employability
Why we need a Minister for Citizen Experience
Powering careers that secure our net zero future
Topics in this article :