Veteran BBC broadcaster David Dimbleby has told German media that Boris Johnson is a liar that nobody trusts, who has become ‘arrogant with power’ following the general election result.
The Daily Mail reported that Dimbleby told Germany’s ARD state TV channel that the prime minister might be forced to start listening more if Brexit starts to go wrong, and he will have to explain why things have not gone as promised.
Attacking the politician he claimed the politician was only interested in being prime minister and does not care what people think.
He said: “Nobody trusts Boris Johnson. Who could trust Boris Johnson? He lies everywhere to everyone. He lies to his family. He just makes it up, you know.
“Boris Johnson, above all politicians, does it his way. He doesn’t take any notice of what people say. He doesn’t care what people think. He just wants to be prime minister.”
He continued: “Johnson is apeing some of the attitudes of Trump. He is a different kind of political animal, like Trump, very similar rulebook.
“If you are like that the one thing you don’t want is people questioning what you’re doing, which is why he won’t let his ministers go on television or any serious programme.”
He claimed that Johnson “doesn’t give a damn for independent analysis, impartial judgment on what it [the government] is doing. They’re not willing to submit to scrutiny… because they’re arrogant with power. And they won’t last.
“If you’re in the glorious moment of supreme power the one thing you don’t want is to be held to account.”
But he warned: “The moment will come when they need to talk to someone. Things are not going to go easy. The decisions that are stacking up over Brexit, trade negotiations, are going to be very difficult. At some point they will need to explain why they failed to get the 100% they promised.”
The comments, which were not broadcast but unearthed in a leaked transcript seen by the newspaper, also claimed the BBC was under threat “in a way it has never been before”.
The former Question Time host, 81, said: “The pernicious route they (the government) are using is to say the licence fee is wrong or unfair.
“I don’t believe it is wrong or unfair.
“It is a way of damaging and undermining the BBC that is dangerous and should be resisted forcefully if public broadcasting is to survive.
“Anything that chips away at what we believe to be a good democratic process is dangerous and has to be fought against.
“It has to be explained why not speaking to people is dangerous, why not appearing on television is dangerous.”
But Dimbleby acknowledged it was a “clever strategy” to use the rise of Netflix and social media to attempt to attack the broadcaster.
His comments came as an unnamed Downing Street adviser claimed the government wanted to “whack” the licence fee.
Tory MP Huw Merriman, chairman of the all-party parliamentary group on the BBC, joined a chorus of voices defending the BBC from the Downing Street attacks.
He said: “It’s fair enough to say we need to have a conversation about whether the licence fee is going to still be relevant in 2027. There’s nothing wrong with that. I agree with that conversation.
“But this whole thing about ‘whacking’, about ‘it’s got hundreds of radio stations, and we’re going to close them down’. It doesn’t, it has 63, and so, therefore, the facts aren’t correct.”