The Prime Minister told Tory MPs the broadcaster was “pretty detached” from a lot of the country during the 2016 referendum. Meanwhile, MPs hit out at the BBC’s mocking of the Union flag. Breakfast TV hosts Charlie Stayt and Naga Munchetty were “spoken to” on Monday after complaints from viewers. Critics accused them of sneering at a Government minister for having a flag in his office during their interview.
Charlie told Robert Jenrick that it “is not up to standard size, Government interview measurements. I think it’s just a little bit small, but that’s your department really. It’s just a thought.”
Naga was seen trying to stifle a laugh and “liked” disreputable comments on social media about the incident.
At the 1922 Committee of backbench MPs, where Mr Johnson spoke, the politicians expressed their disdain at Charlie and Naga’s behaviour.
The BBC said they had reminded the presenters of their responsibilities “including the BBC’s impartiality and social media guidelines”.
BBC director-general Tim Davie insisted that staff were “very proud of being British”. He tried to defuse the row by insisting the BBC was “proudly” flying the flag at Broadcasting House.
Meanwhile, Mr Johnson told MPs: “There are moments when the BBC approach fairness.
“I think we need to recognise as a whole there is a degree of instinctive metropolitan bias in the BBC newsroom.
“It’s pretty clear from the whole Brexit experience the BBC was pretty detached from what its viewers and listeners and I hope they move more into line.
“We need to think about that with all the commonsensical ways we have.”
Former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore, who has been a fierce critic of the corporation over its politically correct bias, was No 10’s choice to take over as BBC chairman to counter any metropolitan leanings.
After he pulled out of the race, Richard Sharp, an investment banker and Brexiteer, was appointed.
Mr Johnson has repeatedly raised questions about the way the corporation is funded. He previously warned that when its current settlement ends in 2027 it will face questions about whether the system is sustainable.
The public accounts committee heard that the corporation will rake in more than £400million from the over-75s this year.
BBC bosses axed the free TV licence for 4.2 million oldest pensioners last year.
The BBC did not respond last night for requests for comment.