'Pretty privileged!' Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries vows to end class prejudice at BBC

Nadine Dorries, 64, has warned Broadcasting House that while she wants to avoid conflict with the BBC, the broadcaster must do more to open access to people from working-class backgrounds. Speaking to the Sun on Sunday, Ms Dorries said: “I don’t want to go to war with the BBC but they have got to come to the table with firm proposals about what they are going to do about impartiality and access.”

The Liverpool-born Cabinet member made some critical comments about the BBC before she succeeded Oliver Dowden as Culture Secretary in the Prime Minister’s September reshuffle.

When asked about her promotion to Cabinet, she joked: “I could almost hear the almond latte cups hitting the floor at the BBC when I got this job.”

Dorries also claimed: “No matter whose name you think of today that has made it in theatre, TV and the arts, they come from a pretty privileged background.

“I come from a poor family, yet rose to be a best-selling author and now I have an opportunity to challenge these organisations to do more in places where the inspiration and aspiration has gone.”

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And the Brexit-backing MP then vowed to take on the UK’s national broadcaster.

She told the Sun on Sunday: “Now I have an opportunity to do something about it and I intend to seize it.”

Ms Dorries, who herself comes from a working-class background having been raised in a council house on Liverpool’s Breck Road, also stressed how she was not talking about other forms of diversity.

“When I talk about access,” she explained, “I mean the make-up of who works at the BBC.

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“They often tell us what percentage of their employees are gay, black or trans.

“I’m not talking about that.

“I’m talking about what the BBC is doing to represent the vast number of low socio-economic, non-diverse areas in the UK.

“Places like Breck Road, like Leicester and Bradford.

“Towns and cities with big council estates and strong working-class communities.”

According to the 2020 Ofcom report, 13 percent of BBC employees attended private schools and 60 percent have parents who come from professional occupations.

In comparison, across the UK just 7 percent of people attend independent schools and only 33 percent come from families where their parents are employed in professional occupations.

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