In the House of Commons last week, I raised the importance of political parties indicating their intentions towards the BBC in their election manifestos.
Mr Ben Bradshaw (Exeter) (Lab): Does the hon. Gentleman agree that we in Britain do broadcasting and the creative industries more generally extremely well, and that politicians tamper with our successful mixed economy, with the BBC at its centre, at their peril? Will he therefore join me in urging all the political parties to make clear in their manifestos their intentions towards the BBC, so that the British public, who value the BBC and its public service ethos, can make an informed choice when they cast their votes on 7 May?
Mr Whittingdale: I thank the right hon. Gentleman for the part he played in preparing the report, which was considerable. I agree with him about the importance of the creative industries, on which the Select Committee has concentrated. I do not entirely agree with his second point, because it is important that there should be a genuine debate and a public consultation. We recommended an independent review panel, and all that would be pre-empted if the political parties set out their conclusions in their manifestos, which are to be published in four or five weeks’ time.