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Monday, 17 December, 2001, 14:13 GMT
Chris Smith takes Disney job
Former culture secretary Chris Smith
Smith will be starting work for Disney "imminently"
Chris Smith, the former secretary of state for culture, media and sport, has accepted a senior consultative role with Disney Television.

A spokeswoman at the Islington South and Finsbury MP's office told BBC News Online: "He has been taken on as an adviser."

However, she denied a report in the Independent newspaper that Mr Smith would be earning between 50,000 and 100,000 a year in the job.

All details regarding Mr Smith's pay from Disney would be disclosed to the Commons register of members' interests as soon as they were known, she said.

Chris Smith
Chris Smith lost his job in the last cabinet reshuffle

A spokesman for Disney Television said he expected Mr Smith to start work "imminently".

The former culture secretary lost his job in the last cabinet reshuffle, after Labour's last general election victory, on 7 June.

Subsequently, under Commons rules applying to ministers, he was not allowed to take up commercial work for six months.

'Level playing field'

Mr Smith's appointment comes in the run-up to the planned launch by the BBC of two new children's digital channels, which will be competing with Disney for an audience.

Disney is continuing to press its case that the BBC should, like other broadcasters, be subject to external regulation.

The company says it "just wants a level playing field".

It would like to see the corporation regulated by the projected new television watchdog, the Office of Communications (Ofcom).

Plans to replace the various current regulators with Ofcom were set out in the draft White Paper on Communications from Mr Smith's former office last year.

See also:

07 Dec 01 | TV and Radio
Jowell opens BBC Three debate
11 Jun 01 | Entertainment
Jowell's new cultural role
08 Jun 01 | Vote2001
Cabinet changes: At-a-glance
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