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News that the government is privatising Channel 4 has triggered murmurings about motivations.

Some commentators and opposition politicians have suggested the Tory run government is 'punishing' the broadcaster which was founded by Margaret Thatcher's Tories and is publicly owned but commercially funded, given some on the right allege it has a left-wing bias.

Whether these rumours are true is something only culture secretary Nadine Dorries and her team know, but what is true is the broadcaster has a history of holding the government's feet to the fire.

It's almost as if one of journalism's key purposes is to hold power to account...

Here are a handful of times Channel 4 got the better of the Tories.

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Jacob Rees-Mogg gets a savage introduction

In 2019 when the government prorogued parliament (a move that turned out to be unlawful, by the way), Krishnan Guru-Murphy captured the mood of the nation perfectly with a dry introduction that made Jacob Rees-Mogg squirm.

Guru-Murphy said: "I am joined by Jacob Rees-Mogg and it's our first chance to speak to him since he was appointed as leader of the Commons, flew to Scotland to get the Queen's approval for unlawfully proroguing parliament and then watched us all unravel in what he's supposed to have called a constitutional coup.

"In a moment I will ask him what he thinks the new masterplan is that will get Brexit done."

Sassy.

Brexiteer MP also gets a savage introduction

But Rees-Mogg wasn't the only Brexiteer MP to feel the force of Guru-Murphy's sharp tongue.

Earlier in 2019 Ben Bradley, a politician who had previously backed Remain, until he changed his mind... a few times, appeared on the show.

Guru-Murphy summed up his voting record perfectly. He said: "The conservative MP Ben Bradley is in the House of Commons. He voted to remain, then became a Brexiteer, then voted against the deal, then voted for the deal, then said he’d struggled to back the deal again but now says he will back the deal."

The conversation that followed was excruciating.


Boris Johnson empty-chaired with an ice sculpture

When Johnson didn't turn up for a leader's debate on climate change in 2019, and tried to ask the then environment secretary Michael Gove to go instead, he was empty-chaired with an ice sculpture.

The Tories complained to regulator Ofcom, Ofcom said the channel had "editorial freedom" to do so and the Tories looked very embarrassing indeed.


Boris Johnson grilled at G7 summit

And when Johnson did turn up to Channel 4 last summer, it didn't go well. The PM was grilled by Gary Gibbon at the G7 summit about the Northern Ireland protocol and his relationship with former president Donald Trump.

He got quite the grilling.

Michael Gove challenged on 'new hospitals' claim

In 2019, a Channel 4 reporter cornered Gove about the Tory pledge to build 40 new hospitals and expressed a bit of scepticism about the project.

Gove got very testy and said: "If you want to have a proper conversation, then we can have a proper conversation. But, of course, what you want to do is to mount a polemical case."

He continued: "You're using this interview as an opportunity, and I completely understand it, to mount an argument… That’s perfectly fair journalism. What it’s not, is objective.

The BBC reports that the government's definition of new hospitals isn't as clear-cut as the Tories claim.


MP gives car-crash interview

In 2017, Suella Braverman was rather cagey indeed when asked how many MPs were in the pro-Brexit European Research Group (ERG).

Guru-Murthy asked her if it was a "secret society" after she skirted round the question and it ended up being a total shambles.

With incidents like these, you'd be forgiven for thinking the government has in it for Channel 4 for more reasons than they are letting on.

But indy100 has contacted the Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS) as well as Channel 4 to comment further on this allegation.

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