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SNP say BBC licence fee freeze an attack on journalism to distract from Boris Johnson party scandals

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Boris Johnson’s sudden move to freeze the BBC licence fee, and possibly abolish it altogether, have been branded an act of “cultural vandalism” to distract from the partygate scandal engulfing his government.

Tory Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries faced a barrage of Commons criticism on Monday as she announced the rushed decision to freeze the licence fee at £159 until April 2024 despite spiralling inflation.In a move to appease right-wing Tory MPs, who regard the BBC as too liberal, Dorries confirmed the real terms cut of £3.2 billion to the BBC and floated the possibility that the universal licence fee could be abolished by 2027.

Labour Shadow culture secretary Lucy Powell MP said the Government had a “vendetta” against the BBC over its reporting of the drinking culture at No10 during lockdown.

She said the £159 licence fee is “incredibly cheap” and criticised Dorries for making an announcement on Twitter as part of a Tory Government plan to offer “red meat for their backbenchers”.Powell said the Government was signalling “the end of the BBC as we know it” in a “pathetic” attempt to distract from Boris Johnson’s difficulties over Downing Street parties.John Nicolson MP, the SNP culture spokesman, said the Tory right hates the BBC almost as much as it hates Channel 4, which the government intends to privatise.Nicolson told the Commons: “That’s why Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, a slavish Boris Johnson loyalist, is so determined to destroy both.“The Tory right wants the broadcast media to be as sycophantic as most of the print press, offering fawning adulation to their malevolent leader.

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