BUSINESS QUESTION – BBC & 'CAMBRIDGE SPIES' – 6 March 2003

Dr Julian Lewis: May we have a debate in due course on the compulsory funding of the BBC as a public service broadcaster, given that such a debate would enable us to explore the mentality of official BBC spokesmen? A spokesman has said that the BBC's new series on ‘Cambridge Spies' was

"the first time that they can be seen to be heroic because it's post-Cold War"

and made this statement:

"In 'Cambridge Spies', we see and understand why it was that these young men were so implacably opposed to fascism and how communism was the only legitimate response".

What possible relationship can there be between the concept of compulsory levies, public service broadcasting and such an utter perversion of liberal values and the historical record?

[Robin Cook: One of the commendable ingenuities of the hon. Gentleman is that he always manages to find a way of making his point without my having to arrange a debate. He has just done so again. I fully concur with him in the sentiment behind his point – there is nothing heroic in being a traitor. I think that the whole House would agree.]