A Tory MP has used his opportunity to question the BBC director general by asking him why there were no union jacks on graphics in the broadcaster’s annual report.
James Wild seemed quite pleased with this line of inquiry, as he tweeted out video of the exchange.
He asked Tim Davie yesterday: ‘In your annual report last year of 268 pages, do you know how many union flags featured in any of the graphics in those glossy pages?’
Mr Davie answered: ‘In all the briefings I got for this meeting, that was not one of them.’
Wild, who also asked about the licence free, asked him to take a guess, then replied that the answer was zero, asking if he found it surprising.
Mr Davie, who is a former councillor candidate for the Conservative Party said the broadcaster was very proud to be British, but that judging it by the number of flags in its report was a ‘strange metric’.
He said a union jack flies ‘proudly’ over Broadcasting House on many days of the year and invited him to come and see it.
‘I don’t think there’s any problem with the BBC in terms of championing Britain abroad. We’re incredibly proud of it.’
The North West Norfolk MP, who is married to the Leader of the House of Lords, then said: ‘Maybe in the annual report for this year perhaps you could include some imagery around the union flag. It might be welcomed by some of my constituents.’
Several people who watched the exchange had some questions, given his suggestion that flags should be abundant on official documents.
Such as, where were they on the Conservative manifesto he ran under?
Parody account Larry the Cat tweeted: ‘Am I missing the Union flags in the 2019 Conservative manifesto? Room for eight pictures of Boris Johnson but couldn’t squeeze in a single flag?’
Others asked where the flags featured on his own website’s design, and why he hadn’t asked the question with a flag positioned behind him.
The issue of flags and the BBC has been in the news recently after present Naga Munchetty apologised for liking tweets that joked about the Union flag.
Her co-host Charlie Stayt had told minister Robert Jenrick, who had a flag in the background, after interviewing him: ‘I think your flag is not up to standard size government interview measurements.’
‘I think it’s just a little small, but that’s your department, really.’
Naga Munchetty had laughed at the comment and liked tweets referencing it, but removed the likes after a backlash.
Some had applauded the aside, but others found it offensive, with one person saying: ‘@bbcnews Charlie Stayt being sarcastic about the union flag being in the background of a serious interview with a government minister. What’s your problem Charlie? Just trying to belittle? That’s how it came across to me.’
Former MP Kate Hoey claimed it ‘showed what you both really think of our flag and our Queen’.
Ms Munchetty said: ‘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.’
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