David Dimbleby Criticises 'Liar' Boris Johnson And Accuses PM Of 'Apeing Trump'

The veteran BBC journalist said the PM "doesn't care what people think" in an unaired interview.
The BBC's David Dimbleby.
The BBC's David Dimbleby.
Dan Kitwood via Getty Images

David Dimbleby, one of the BBC’s most senior journalists, has criticised Boris Johnson as a liar and accused him of “apeing” Donald Trump’s tactics.

In an unseen interview with Germany’s ARD state TV channel the veteran presenter said “nobody” trusted the PM, who he said was “undermining” the BBC.

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.”

The comments were first published by the Daily Mail, who obtained a transcript of parts of the interview which were not aired by the German broadcaster.

The 82-year-old, who is best known for hosting Question Time for a quarter of a century, added: “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.

“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.”

Dimbleby hosted coverage of every general election from 1979 to 2017, and followed Johnson throughout the 2019 campaign for a documentary.

The veteran broadcaster also said the “BBC is under threat in a way it has never been before”, after news broke of government proposals to scrap the TV license fee.

He 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.”

Downing Street is considering replacing the TV licence fee with a subscription model, forcing the sale of most BBC radio stations, cutting the number of television stations and reducing the amount of online content, according to reports.

The government is already consulting on proposals to decriminalise non-payment of the licence fee and ministers have suggested it could be abolished altogether when the BBC’s charter comes up for renewal in 2027.


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