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MPs want BBC licence fee replaced with subscription

The BBC has insisted its licence fee is vital to ensure its programmes can be accessed by everyone, amid claims that up to 50 MPs will call for the charge to be scrapped and replaced with a subscription option.

MPs want to replace the BBC licence fee with a subscription service. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

A group of Conservatives will support an appeal to the Culture Secretary Sajid Javid urging a review into funding for the corporation, the Sunday Express reported.

The paper said it had seen a letter from Tory MP Andrew Bridgen to Mr Javid which said the current funding arrangement is "increasingly becoming unsustainable and out of keeping with the modern media environment".

Mr Bridgen went on to say the organisation should plan for a future without the licence fee, looking at subscriptions as well as "the wealth of further opportunities that exist for its worldwide operation".

But the BBC has said the licence fee ensures wider access to its programming.

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BBC's Buerk: Ched Evans' rape victim deserves no credit

The BBC has apologised after presenter Michael Buerk broadcast that footballer Ched Evans' rape victim was among those not coming away "with any credit" from the case because she was "so drunk she could barely stand".

Michael Buerk's comments aired this morning on Radio 4 ahead of this evening's Moral Maze. Credit: Yui Mok/PA Archive

Speaking in a trailer for this evening's Radio 4 programme Moral Maze, which will debate whether Evans should return to his former club Sheffield United after his prison release, Buerk said:

Nobody comes out of the Ched Evans rape case with any credit. Not the victim who had drunk so much she could barely stand, nor the two footballers who had sex with her in the most sordid of circumstances.

The jury convicted only one of rape and now, after serving half his five-year sentence, ashamed but unrepentant, Ched Evans has been released and there is talk of a £500,000 contract to return to his club, Sheffield United.

– Michael Buerk

This morning's aired comments received strong criticism from rape charities amid an angry public response. A spokesman for Radio 4 said:

There was no intention to suggest that the victim was in any way at fault, and we apologise if the way this live trail was phrased suggested this.

Tonight’s Moral Maze will ask whether a convicted rapist who maintains his innocence should be entitled to get his job back.

– BBC statement

The criticism of Buerk's comments come after public outrage at TV presenter Judy Finnigan's claim that the victim in the case had "had far too much to drink" and that the "rape was not violent".

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Alice Gross' sister criticises BBC over 'insensitive' debate

The sister of Alice Gross has criticised the BBC's Question Time programme over a discussion about immigration related to Alice's murder.

Nina Gross wrote on Twitter:

The show's panel had discussed whether criminals should be allowed to move freely across European borders, a reference to Latvian builder Arnis Zalkalns, a suspect in Alice's murder.

The official BBC Question Time account replied:

Nina, 19, thanked the BBC for the apology.

NUJ: BBC staff to strike over job losses

The National Union of Journalists has said that staff at the BBC have voted to go on strike in a row over job losses.

NUJ members see this as a battle for the heart and soul of the BBC. Our members know that these cuts are being targeted in the wrong direction – instead of sorting out managerial excesses and waste, it is grassroots journalism and programming facing the axe. Morale is at a record low, with staff working in an atmosphere described by one journalist as one of ‘fear and loathing’.

– NUJ general secretary Michelle Stanistreet

The NUJ said that in the ballot, 86.9 per cent of members voted for action short of strike action, and 73.6 per cent of members voted for action including strike action.

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