Robert Kilroy-Silk is to step down as presenter of his daily topical discussion programme after 17 years in the role. The BBC released the following statements from Mr Kilroy-Silk and Jana Bennett, BBC Director of Television. Announcing his decision, Robert Kilroy-Silk said:
I believe this is the right moment to leave the programme and concentrate my energies in other directions.
I will continue to lead the Kilroy Television Company Ltd and in addition to our existing commitments to the BBC, we will be bringing new ideas and programmes to the BBC and other broadcasters.
I have been overwhelmed by the support from the general public, and I continue to believe that it is my right to express my views, however uncomfortable they may be.
However, I recognise the difficulties this has caused the BBC, and I believe my decision is the right way to resolve the situation.
Jana Bennett, BBC Director of Television, said:
For 17 years, Robert Kilroy-Silk has been a major figure in BBC daytime television, and he has created a successful production company.
As presenter of Kilroy, no subject has been taboo, and he has ensured that BBC daytime viewers were better informed on almost every subject that affected their daily lives.
He has done so with authority and style, and his programme is one that many have tried to emulate.
We are very grateful to Robert for his contribution over the years, and we look forward to building on his achievements with the programme and wish to continue to work with Robert in other on-screen roles. He remains a substantial force in the media industry.
I would like to say that this has never been about freedom of speech. Presenters of this kind of programme have a responsibility to uphold the BBC's impartiality.
This does not mean that people who express highly controversial views are not welcome on the BBC but they cannot be presenters of a news, current affairs or topical discussion programme.