'Licence fee payers might care!' MP staggered as BBC boss slams Union Flags as unimportant

During the Public Accounts Committee, James Wild MP questioned BBC chief Tim Davie on the number of flags used in the broadcaster’s regular programming. Mr Davie said the company is “proud” to be British as he noted seeing the flag at the BBC’s headquarters in central London. But he added that he does not see flags as an important metric. Mr Wild challenged the BBC director-general as he pointed out “zero” Union Flags had been featured in the company’s Annual Report, later adding in a Twitter response to the video exchange: “I asked about Union Jacks as I couldn’t spot any in its 268-page Annual Report – maybe this year’s will.”

During the committee meeting, the Conservative MP said: “There’s been a big discussion about flags last week. In your Annual Report last year, do you know how many Union Flags featured in the graphics across those 268 pages?”

After Mr Davie replied he had not been briefed on the specific question, Mr Wild replied: “Zero.”

The BBC director-general hit back: “One of the things I looked at when I came into the building this morning was a Union Jack flying proudly on Broadcasting House, which it does on many, many days of the year.

“I have travelled around the world championing the UK.

“I don’t think there is any problem with the BBC in terms of championing the UK abroad. We are incredibly proud of it.”

Mr Wild interjected: “It’s always good to see the Union Jack flying.

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“My constituents would expect to see more than one flag appearing.”

Mr Davie noted: “I just don’t see it as a metric.”

Mr Wild noted: “You may not but licence fee payers may do.”

It comes as Naga Munchetty has apologised for liking “offensive” tweets about a Government minister’s video call backdrop featuring the Union flag.

Mr Jenrick, who was speaking via video call from Westminster, did not respond.

When the camera returned to the studio, Munchetty was seen attempting to stifle her laugher.

She added: “There’s always a flag. They had the picture of the Queen though. In the Westminster office, I am assuming.”

Munchetty later apologised for liking a series of tweets that referenced their interview and the flag.

She wrote on Twitter: “I ‘liked’ tweets today that were offensive in nature about the use of the British flag as a backdrop in a government interview this morning. I have since removed these ‘likes’.

“This do not represent the views of me or the BBC. I apologise for any offence taken.”

The BBC declined to comment further.

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