Page last updated at 16:34 GMT, Wednesday, 5 December 2012

MPS should 'vote' on BBC director general appointment

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The appointment of the director-general of the BBC should be approved by the House of Commons, a Conservative MP has argued.

David Morris said this could either be done by a vote of the whole House or through a "special panel or committee".

"The director general is an important public figure who wields huge power in this country and it must be the duty of Parliament to ensure the candidate is the right choice for both the BBC and the country," he told MPs.

Opening a Westminster Hall debate on the BBC on 5 December 2012, Mr Morris said the "opaque" corporation needed to be more accountable.

He said "had no desire" to see MPs put in charge of editorial control but added the corporation should publish all spending above £500 and salaries of more than £100,000.

Mr Morris called for MPs to be given the right to table parliamentary questions to the BBC and for the Culture, Media and Sport Department to have regular insight of the actions of the BBC and the BBC Trust.

Together these proposals would restore public confidence in the BBC, the Morecambe and Lunesdale MP argued.

Responding to his comments, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey stressed the government's "firm" commitment to the "long-standing principle" that the BBC "must be independent of government and political interference".

The BBC is funded by a TV licence fee paid by anyone owning a television set in the UK.

The fee is agreed by Parliament and is currently £145.50 per year for colour television.

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