Charlton director appointed new BBC Chairman

Conservatives have welcomed the appointment of Michael Grade, a director and lifelong supporterof our local football club Charlton Athletic, as the new chairman of the BBC.

Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary Julie Kirkbride said his huge broadcasting experience would help restore confidence at the corporation in the wake of the Hutton Report, while Mr Grade would be able to stand up to political bullying.

"We want someone who is strong enough to run the show, and run it firmly and give everyone a fair crack of the whip. I have every confidence that Michael Grade will be able to do this," Miss Kirkbride declared.

Describing the former boss of BBC One and Channel 4 as a "colourful and occasionally controversial" character, she added: "We welcome this appointment. The BBC needs its confidence restored after Hutton. We are pleased to see that the Government desisted from making a political appointee, which we believe would be wrong. We look forward to Michael Grade being a success as BBC chair, in what is a crucial time for the BBC, with the discussions over the future of the Charter.

"The BBC has been through a very difficult time. It has been bullied by the Government. It needs a strong chairman to have confidence in , and to allow BBC staff to carry on making excellent television."

Miss Kirkbride was speaking after Mr Grade's appointment was confirmed following the resignation of his predecessor Gavyn Davies in the wake of the criticism metered out by the Hutton Report. One of his first jobs will be to appoint a new Director General to replace Greg Dyke, who also stood down after Hutton