Sunday 19 July 2015 11:05 pm

John Whittingdale is surprised by defensive BBC after green paper published

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Cukture secretary John Whittingdale said yesterday that he was surprised by the BBC’s defensive response towards a governmental review of its remit.

Whittingdale published a green paper in the Commons last week, posing questions regarding the future of the BBC, which parliament will debate before the renewal of the network’s soon-to-expire Royal Charter.

Following the publication of the paper, the BBC released a statement saying that some possible reforms would undermine a service that “the public has known and loved for over 90 years”.

Asked about the sentiment of the paper, Whittingdale said: “I’m a little surprised that the BBC expressed such disappointment at the green paper.”

Whittingdale says that there was very little difference between the questions posed in last week’s green paper and a report produced during his chairmanship of the culture, media and support select committee during the last parliament.

“The BBC welcomed the select committee report, so I was a little surprised that they didn’t feel able to welcome with the same degree of enthusiasm the green paper,” he said.

However, Whittingdale was in conciliatory mood when asked about an open letter supporting the BBC and published by celebrities from Graham Norton to Clare Balding. “Most of that I fully agree with,” Whittingdale told BBC presenter Andrew Marr.

“The last thing I want to do is undermine the BBC.”