North West Norfolk MP criticized over BBC Director General flag questioning

The MP for North West Norfolk has faced criticism over his questioning of the BBC's Director General Tim Davie during a Commons committee.

During an appearance at the Public Accounts Committee, James Wild, Conservative, pressed Mr Davie on how many images of Union flags were present in the BBC's most recent annual report.

Mr Wild asked: "In your annual report last year, 268 pages, do you know how many Union flags featured in the graphics on those glossy pages?"

"Of all the briefings I got for this meeting that was not one of them I'm afraid," replied Mr Davie.

The BBC Director General Tim Davie Credit: House of Commons

Pressed by Mr Wild on how many flag images were in the report, the Director General said: "I have no idea."

"It was zero," Mr Wild replied, "do you find that surprising?"

"No, I think that's a strange metric." Mr Davie said.

Mr Davie then went on to describe the credentials of the BBC in promoting the UK. He detailed a Union Jack which flies above broadcasting house; his work around the world with the BBC and the private sector promoting the interests of the UK; and he invited anyone walking up Regent Street in London to have a look at the "Union Jack flying proudly above the BBC."

Mr Wild questioned the BBC Director General at the Commons Public Accounts Committee Credit: House of Commons

Undeterred, Mr Wild continued.

"Always good to the see the Union Jack flying, I just think in a 268-page report about the BBC, the British Broadcasting Corporation, my constituents would expect to see probably more than one flag appearing."

Mr Davie replied, "I just don't see it as a metric."

Mr Wild continued.

"In the report you published last week, the BBC across the UK, again how many images of the Union Jack were in that?"

Mr Davie replied, "I could hazard a guess based on where the question is going, but I haven't looked."

The exchange, which was tweeted by Mr Wild yesterday has been seen more than 400,000 times has been mocked by many online.

One person tweeted: "I’m really struggling to take this seriously... let me get this right... a 260+ report and the take-away is flags?! Has he just flicked through the pages to look at the pictures?"

Another, supporting Mr Wild said, "what a courageous stand for the very fabric of our nation. Our grandchildren will thank you."