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Grade: You leave your opinions at the door when you arrive at Ofcom

New Ofcom chair Michael Grade has been facing MPs ahead of his official appointment

Presumptive Ofcom chair Michael Grade has been speaking to MPs on the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) committee for “pre-appointment scrutiny”.

The appearance is part of the process before Grade is officially appointed in the role.

He addressed concerns around his impartiality, having previously commented on the future of both the BBC and Channel 4, admitting, “I have strong opinions sometimes”.

Grade told the MPs: “Ofcom’s enviable reputation as a regulator is based on their processes, their adjudications – their decisions are based on evidence and research.

“And therefore you leave your opinions at the door when you arrive at Ofcom. You have to leave your opinions at the door,” he added.

“After a lifetime of broadcasting at the highest levels I have views, as anybody does, but you leave those behind when you get to Ofcom.”

Discussing the future of the BBC, Grade told the committee he felt his previous comments describing the licence fee as “regressive” were not an opinion, but a statement of fact.

He added that he still backs the idea of privatising Channel 4 because he believes the broadcaster is now too small to survive in a competitive TV digital marketplace. “But Ofcom would have no role in any sell-off which was a matter for parliament,” he added.