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Analyst: Channel 4 privatisation ‘likely to be pushed back’ following Johnson’s ousting

Enders Analysis' director of television tells TVBEurope privatising the broadcaster is unlikely to be a priority for the new PM or culture secretary

Gill Hind, director of TV at Enders Analysis, has told TVBEurope she expects the government’s plan to sell off Channel 4 to move to the backburner following Boris Johnson’s resignation as UK prime minister.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is expected to publish its detailed plans for Channel 4’s privatisation next week. Parliament would be asked to approve the proposals in the autumn, with a sale potentially taking place in early 2023.

With Johnson resigning as PM, Hind believes those plans will now change as the government deals with priorities such as the cost of living crisis before Parliament’s recess in two weeks.

She adds that the idea of privatising the broadcaster doesn’t have wider support among MPs, while over 96 per cent of the 55,737 organisations and individuals who responded to the government’s consultation on the future of Channel 4 said they did not support the privatisation of the broadcaster.

Hind says she doesn’t think privatisation will be a priority for either the new prime minister or culture secretary. “That’s not to say it won’t rear its head, because during Channel 4’s almost 40 years on air it’s always does periodically.”

Possible leadership contenders including Jeremy Hunt (a former culture secretary) and Tom Tugendhat have both said they are opposed to the sale, while earlier this year a number of Conservative MPs wrote a strongly worded letter, urging Johnson to leave the broadcaster alone.