Emily Thornberry Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury
Thank you for contacting me about keeping Channel 4 in public ownership.
Like you, I value Channel 4 and its public service remit. Many of my constituents have contacted me about the important issues you have raised, including people who work for TV production companies.
Many of my constituents have contacted me about this important issue because they work for TV production companies and so they value Channel 4’s public service remit. I do too.
On 6th July, the government launched an open consultation on a change of ownership of Channel 4, which closed on 14th September.
In the Labour Party, we are clear that Channel 4 is one of Britain’s greatest assets. As our Shadow Culture Secretary, Jo Stevens, has said:
“Channel 4 has a unique role in British broadcasting as a company owned by the British public which ploughs its profits into commissioning new programming, creating jobs and discovering new talent.
“The government, having wasted billions on crony contracts and vanity projects, are now looking for a short term-cash boost by selling off one of our great British assets to the highest foreign bidder. They are selling Britain short.”
I am concerned about the assertion that the government is ‘threatening’ Channel 4 with privatisation because of its “woke” output, as one Tory MP has described the channel’s programming. Channel 4 plays an essential role in producing television that resonates with the British public, while holding the government to account with its news programmes.
The government may not have liked it when, in 2019, the Prime Minister was replaced by a melting ice sculpture in the Channel 4 Leaders Debate on Climate Change, when he refused to appear. But that is exactly why it is so important that we protect Channel 4 from privatisation, because it is not afraid to stand up to the government and draw attention to its failings.
In the Labour Party, we will definitely be keeping an eye out for the results of the government’s open consultation. We oppose the privatisation of Channel 4 and will fight the government on this issue at every opportunity.
Thank you again for contacting me about this important matter. If you have any further issues you would like to raise with me, please do not hesitate to get back in touch.
The Rt Hon. Emily Thornberry MP
Islington South and Finsbury
Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade