Political row over move to appoint ex-Huffington Post editor to BBC


Political row over move to appoint ex-Huffington Post editor to BBC as Labour calls for former No 10 communications chief to be SACKED from board for ‘trying to block her appointment on political grounds’

  • Sir Robbie Gibb reportedly tried to stop Jess Brammar’s appointment to BBC
  • He is said to have felt it would damage the government’s trust in the broadcaster
  • Ms Brammar clashed with equalities minister while at the helm of HuffPost UK
  • It comes after Tim Davie attempted to address concerns over BBC’s impartiality

A political row has broken out over the move to appoint ex-Huffington Post editor Jess Brammar to the BBC with Labour calling for Theresa May’s former communications chief to be sacked from the board for ‘trying to block her appointment on political grounds’. 

Sir Robbie Gibb, who became a non-executive director at the corporation in May, attempted to stop the former deputy editor of BBC Newsnight from being appointed to oversee its news channels because he felt it would damage the government’s trust in the broadcaster, reported the Financial Times (FT).

Jo Stevens, Labour’s shadow digital, culture, media and sport secretary, has since urged Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden to join calls for Sir Robbie to resign.

Ms Brammar clashed with equalities minister Kemi Badenoch while at the helm of HuffPost UK and pushed the site’s left of centre views on Brexit, the Black Lives Matter movement and Meghan Markle.

But her tweets from the last few years on those subjects have now been deleted. 

Sir Robbie Gibb, who became a non-executive director at the corporation in May, attempted to stop former deputy editor of BBC Newsnight Jess Brammar (pictured above) from being appointed to oversee its news channels, reported the Financial Times 

It is claimed that Sir Robbie (pictured in May 2019), an ex-senior BBC journalist and editorial advisor to GB News, had sent a text message to BBC director for news and current affairs Fran Unsworth saying she 'cannot make this appointment'

It is claimed that Sir Robbie (pictured in May 2019), an ex-senior BBC journalist and editorial advisor to GB News, had sent a text message to BBC director for news and current affairs Fran Unsworth saying she ‘cannot make this appointment’

She clashed with the government after equalities minister Kemi Badenoch accused one of her journalists of ‘creepy and bizarre’ behaviour over a request asking why she did not appear in a video urging ethnic minorities to get a coronavirus vaccine.

Brammar said Baddenoch’s actions caused her reporter to receive online abuse and complain to the Cabinet Office.

The FT claims that Sir Robbie, an ex-senior BBC journalist and editorial advisor to GB News, had sent a text message to BBC director for news and current affairs Fran Unsworth saying she ‘cannot make this appointment’ and that the government’s ‘fragile trust in the BBC will be shattered’ if she did.

It comes at a time when the broadcaster’s director-general Tim Davie has attempted to address concerns over its impartiality.

Ms Stevens said: ‘These allegations raise very serious questions about Conservative cronyism at the heart of the BBC.

‘If Robbie Gibb is in post to further Tory interests rather than the public interest, then he is in the wrong job. Oliver Dowden must join the calls for him to resign or the BBC must sack him immediately for the sake of its own integrity.’

It comes at a time when the broadcaster's director-general Tim Davie (pictured in Glasgow in February this year) has attempted to address concerns over its impartiality

It comes at a time when the broadcaster’s director-general Tim Davie (pictured in Glasgow in February this year) has attempted to address concerns over its impartiality

Labour's shadow digital, culture, media and sport secretary, said: 'These allegations raise very serious questions about Conservative cronyism at the heart of the BBC' (file photo)

Labour’s shadow digital, culture, media and sport secretary, said: ‘These allegations raise very serious questions about Conservative cronyism at the heart of the BBC’ (file photo)

Sir Robbie, who is now a senior communications adviser at Kekst CNC and director of the Jewish Chronicle newspaper, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

His brother Nick Gibb is Conservative MP for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton and minister for school standards.

A BBC spokesperson said: ‘The BBC doesn’t comment on ongoing recruitment processes, which are the responsibility of the executive, but for the record, no recruitment process has been blocked.

‘People should wait for the outcome which will be announced in due course.

‘And as a general principle, board members are able to discuss issues with other board members or senior executives. These principles were adhered to.’

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