Tory MP mocked after asking BBC’s Tim Davie why there were no union flags in its annual report

Tory MP mocked after asking BBC’s Tim Davie why there were no union flags in its annual report

A Conservative MP has been ridiculed online after criticising the lack of a Union Jack in the BBC’s annual report last year.

North West Norfolk MP James Wild questioned the corporation’s boss, Director General Tim Davie, during the latest session of the Public Accounts Committee.

He asked: “In your annual report last year – 268 pages – do you know how many union flags featured in any of the graphics in those glossy pages?”

“Of all the briefings that I got for this meeting, that was not one of them, I’m afraid,” Davie responded.

After being invited to take a guess by Wild, the BBC chief said he had “no idea” how many union flags appeared in the document.

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Wild went on to reveal that the answer was zero, before asking Davie if he found that figure “surprising”.

“Well no, I think that’s a strange metric, but I have to say, one of the things I looked at when I came into the [BBC] building this morning was the union kack flying proudly on Broadcasting House, which it does on many, many, many days of the year.

“I have travelled around the world championing the UK. I sit on the private sector council for the GREAT campaign. 

“I don’t think there’s any problem with the BBC in terms of championing the UK and Britain abroad, we’re incredibly proud of it. If you do wonder up Regent Street today, then have a look at the Union Jack flying proudly on top of the BBC,” Davie replied.

As the tense exchange continued, Davie repeated that he didn’t see the number of union flags in an annual report “as a metric”, to which Wild responded by saying “licence fee payers might do”.

“Maybe in the annual report for this year, perhaps you could include some imagery around the union flag,” he suggested.

After the interaction was shared on Twitter, users were quick to point out that Wild did not have a union flag in his Twitter bio or on his website, describing his line of questioning as “hypocrisy” and “utterly embarrassing”:

Meanwhile, some expressed fake disappointment at other graphics missing from the Beeb’s annual report, and suggested their own additions to the document:

Wild’s exchange with Davie is the latest development in a discussion around Tory MPs and union flags, after BBC Breakfast presenter Charlie Stayt joked about the size of housing secretary Robert Jenrick’s flag during an interview last week.

Co-presenter Naga Munchetty later went on to apologise after she liked ‘offensive’ tweets about the backdrop, while BBC News at Ten’s Huw Edwards was ‘ordered’ to remove a photo of the Welsh flag after he weighed in on the row.

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