She said: “Mr Speaker, we are on the side of free media.
“That was why it was brilliant to see the audience for the BBC’s Russian language news site has gone up from 3.1 million to 10.7 million in the last week.
“And despite his best efforts to censor reporting in Russia, Putin’s own citizens are turning to factual, independent information in their millions.
“At this point, I would just like to offer my heartfelt thanks and admiration,” – Dorries paused to swallow and appeared to hold back tears, before pressing on with a shaky voice – “for all those journalists working for the BBC, the ITV and other news outlets who are risking their lives to bring us unbiased and accurate news from a live war zone.”
SNP MP Christine Jardin then asked Dorries if she would now think twice about the BBC’s future after praising it so enthusiastically, to which Dorries replied: “I have always said the BBC is a great British global brand and it needs protecting.”
But, she still added: “We need to review the funding model in order to protect the BBC and what is best for the BBC, including the World Service.”
Dorries was behind the decision to cut BBC funding earlier this year amid claims that the international broadcaster was guilty of “left-wing bias”.
She promised in January that “the days of state-run TV are over” when she declared she was looking for new ways to fund and sell “great British content” away from the BBC’s license fee.
She even claimed in The Telegraph that the government “must save the BBC from itself”.
The culture secretary announced a two-year freeze on the license fee back in January, meaning it would not be increasing with inflation and so the BBC will lose £2 billion in that period.
She claimed it was because No.10 could “not justify the pressure on the wallets of hardworking households”.
As a BBC source pointed out at the time: “Anything less than inflation would put unacceptable pressure on the BBC finances after years of cuts.”
Since being promoted to the cabinet, Dorries has certainly developed a reputation for unfortunate gaffes, but her attacks on the BBC triggered a wave of national outrage – and people on Twitter have not forgotten.