The end of Boris Johnson’s premiership gives Channel 4 and it’s Bristol Creative Hub a “lifeline” against privatisation, according to Metro Mayor Dan Norris, and the sale of the much-loved broadcaster must be shelved while the Conservatives choose a new leader over the coming months.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, led by Johnson loyalist Nadine Dorries, is expected to publish detailed Channel 4 privatisation plans next week. Parliament would be asked to approve the proposals in the autumn, with a sale potentially taking place in early 2023.
However, the Metro Mayor believes the sell-off should be paused now Johnson is stepping down and the outgoing prime minister yesterday said he would not introduce “major changes of direction” over the coming weeks as Tory MPs and party members run an election for his replacement.
Mayor Norris says he doesn’t think privatisation will be a priority for the new prime minister, and with Johnson promising not to implement policy changes that would bind his successor, this should extend to forcing his unnecessary and unpopular Channel 4 sale plans through Parliament.
Possible Tory leadership contenders including Jeremy Hunt and Tom Tugendhat, chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, are opposed to the sale.
The Mayor who recently visited the Bristol hub says Channel 4 should be given time to implement their alternative plan which could involve almost doubling the number of staff working outside London, including in Bristol, with thousands more in the region’s wider creative sector.

Commissioning departments represented in the Creative Hub in Bristol include: Daytime, Drama; Factual and Popular Factual. Creative Diversity also has a presence in Bristol to help nurture and develop on and off-screen talent.
Metro Mayor Dan Norris said “The removal of Boris Johnson as prime minister gives Channel 4 a lifeline. Frankly, the whole thing should be quietly put to bed. But over the next few months, the Prime Minister must abide by his commitments not to do anything which would bind its successor in any substantial way – that means this petulant and malicious privatisation must be put on the backburner. Channel 4 doesn’t cost the taxpayer a single penny to run and supports so many amazing local independent production companies and thousands of jobs here in the West of England. The Prime Minister must allow his successor to put common sense before ideology when the time comes”.

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