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Number 10 begins search for new BBC chair

"They're almost looking for a female Tim Wetherspoon," Claire Enders tells TVBEurope

The government has reportedly begun considering who should replace David Clementi as chairman of the BBC.

He is due to step down from the role in February 2021, and his successor will be chosen by the prime minister.

According to the Sunday Times, Boris Johnson is considering everyone from Nicky Morgan and Amber Rudd to Andrew Neil and George Osborne. It says the PM is keen to announce the new chairman by the autumn.

All are said to be seen as credible options both by Number 10 and the BBC itself.

The paper adds that the prime minister and out-going BBC director general Tony Hall have held “preliminary peace talks” after what it describes as a “fractious year”. It added that the two men are expected to meet face-to-face before Hall steps down from his role next month.

Enders Analysis founder Claire Enders tells TVBEurope Nicky Morgan has always been in the frame for the job. “It is very typical for the BBC chair to be a senior political figure, Lord Patten was a classic example, so the new chair is obviously going to be a mainstream Tory,” she added.

“There’s no question Number 10 has been spending time since January looking to identify a senior female figure who will impose its will on the BBC. They’re almost looking for a female Tim Wetherspoon, a Brexit supporter who deal with the unaccountable bias that all good Tories believe the BBC has.

“They’re looking for a Brexit-supporting business or political figure who will see the BBC through the next year of Brexit.”

“There is a serious ideological project by Dominic Cummings to bring the BBC to heal,” adds Enders. “There have been significant attempts to cut the wings of BBC and David Clementi is seen as someone Number 10 is unwilling to deal with.”

Enders adds that the appointment of Tim Davie as director general has not led the government to seek a woman for the role of chair as that has happened before when Rona Faihead was chair of the BBC Trust. “But there is a perception that there have been very few female appointments by this government.

“Anyone who thinks Andrew Neil is the right chairman for BBC is dreaming,” concludes Enders,