Huw Edwards claims senior Tories told him Nadine Dorries was talking ‘nonsense’ on BBC licence fee

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Huw Edwards says the BBC should be more ‘robust’ in its arguments for retaining the licence fee
Huw Edwards says the BBC should be more ‘robust’ in its arguments for retaining the licence fee

Huw Edwards, the BBC newsreader, has claimed that senior Tories privately rubbished the Culture Secretary’s declaration that she will abolish the licence fee.

Nadine Dorries tweeted in January: “This licence fee announcement will be the last,” before announcing a review of the BBC’s funding model.

However, Edwards suggested that colleagues of Ms Dorries poured scorn on the idea.

Discussing the future of the BBC in an interview with Men's Health UK, Edwards said: “I’ll say this just as an aside: on the day that Nadine Dorries made remarks about abolishing the licence fee, I was receiving texts from senior Tories saying, ‘Don’t listen to that, it’s nonsense’.”

The presenter said he could “see the arguments against the licence fee”, but added: “I have no doubt that the majority of the British public support the BBC in its current form.”

He added that the BBC should be more “robust” in its arguments for retaining the licence fee. “If there are complaints about the way we go about things, of course we’ll listen.

“But the principle of what we’re about - and the way that current funding enables that - is something I’m always pretty assertive in defending,” he said.

Newsreader opens up about depression

Edwards was speaking to Alastair Campbell for the interview, in which he also discussed his depression.

“I’m pretty clear that I have suffered - and do suffer - from depression. It tends to hit me in a strong wave and then go away,” he explained.

“And, of course, if it’s very bad - as it has been a few times over the course of 20 years - you can’t work. During the worst one I had, I couldn’t get out of bed.”

Edwards, 60, said it had taken him a long time to accept criticism from viewers after he began presenting the News at Ten in 2003.

He admitted: “I wasn’t used to it. I was used to being told I was brilliant.”

:: Huw Edwards was speaking to Men’s Health UK ‘Talking Heads’ columnist, Alastair Campbell, in the June issue of the magazine, on sale from 25th May

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