Peer tipped as BBC's next chair says it must 'focus' on Tory voters

A peer tipped as a contender to be the new chairman has said the corporation needs to ‘focus’ on Conservative voters who feel the BBC is ‘not representing them’ in the way they ‘deserve’.

Tina Stowell said rather than focusing on what politicians are saying, the broadcaster needs to prioritise ‘people who walk into the polling booths and put a cross in the box’.

Speaking at of the Listener & Viewer spring conference, the former Leader of the House of Lords also denied that the Government is ‘hostile’ to the BBC.

Baroness Stowell, who is currently chair of the House of Lords’ Communications and Digital Committee, is one of the early names linked with the BBC chairman job, following ‘s resignation.

The peer, who worked at the BBC for a number of years, including as head of corporate affairs, told the event: ‘I don’t think there’s anybody in Government who is hostile to the BBC… I genuinely don’t think the Conservative Party is hostile either.’ 

(File photo) Tina Stowell (pictured), who is tipped as a contender to be the BBC’s new chair, said the broadcaster should be ‘more open to alternatives’ to the license fee 

‘But there are people who vote Conservative and who are also licence fee payers, who feel that the BBC at the moment is not representing them in the way that they feel they deserve it to do.

‘And I think that’s what the BBC needs to focus on.’

She said while the politicians could be ‘annoying’ for the BBC, it was ultimately voters that ‘have all the power’ so it should concentrate on them.

Baroness Stowell added: ‘Because, there is a growing body of people who feel less attached to the BBC than the majority of people, I can tell, in this room.’

She added that when it came to how the BBC is funded it should be ‘more open to alternatives’ adding ‘the licence fee is not an end in itself’.

(File photo) The BBC’s chief content officer Charlotte Moore (pictured) said the broadcaster does not have a ‘God-given right to exist’

Also speaking at the conference, the BBC’s chief content officer, Charlotte Moore, said staff at the corporation were already facing ‘great jeopardy’ as the competition they face is ‘enormous’.

Ms Moore, who is responsible for all of the corporation’s TV and radio output, added that the corporation does not have a ‘God-given right to exist’.

Speaking about the tough choices the corporation faces as it makes savings, she told the conference: ‘I would say there’s great jeopardy for all of our staff at the BBC at the moment and for anybody who works in public service broadcasting.’

Ms Moore also confirmed that the BBC has had offers of ‘alternative funding models’ to maintain the closure-threatened BBC Singers.

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