The Prime Minister waded into the row the day after former Brexit Party MEP Rupert Lowe renewed his calls for the scrapping of the compulsory annual licence fee – declaring himself to be “sick of it”. While Mr Johnson was more circumspect, he nevertheless made his feeling clear at Tuesday’s 1922 Committee meeting, according to Daily Mail political editor Jason Groves on Twitter.
He posted: “PM took a swipe at the BBC at tonight’s 1922 Committee meeting, telling Tory MPs: ‘We need to recognise on the whole that there is a great deal of instinctual metropolitan bias in the BBC newsroom’.
“I’m told he was asked about this week’s flag row, but his comments reflect wider concern about the corporation’s coverage of Brexit and beyond.”
Mr Groves’ version of events was backed up by Steve Swinford, the Daily Telegraph’s deputy political editor.
He said: “Boris Johnson took aim at the BBC at the 1922 committee tonight
“He said that while there are ‘moments where they approach fairness’ there is a ‘degree of instinctive metropolitan bias in the BBC newsroom.”
In a second tweet Mr Swinford added: “Boris Johnson on the BBC: ‘Let’s hope they learn from what their viewers and listeners want.
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The incident involving Mrs Munchetty and Mr Stayt occurred during an interview with communities secretary Robert Jenrick last week.
The two were accused of mocking Mr Jenrick about the Union Jack and a portrait of the Queen on the wall of his office.
Mr Stayt told him: “I think your flag is not up to standard size Government-interview measurements. I think it’s just a little bit small.”
Mrs Munchetty was then seen trying to suppress her laughter before remarking: “There’s always a flag.
“They had the picture of the Queen though. In the Westminster office I am assuming.”
Both presenters were replaced by Jon Kay and Rachel Burden on BBC Breakfast’s Saturday edition.
A statement issued by the BBC yesterday confirmed it had received complaints from people who were “unhappy” about Mr Stayt’s comments and Mrs Munchetty reaction.
It added: “It was meant as a light-hearted, off the cuff comment and no offence or disrespect was intended.
“Naga and Charlie have been spoken to and reminded of their responsibilities, including the BBC’s impartiality and social media guidelines.”