Boris Johnson was prepared to increase the salary of the BBC chairman from £100,000 to £280,000 to entice Charles Moore – even though the government’s official position is to reduce pay at the broadcaster.
The Sunday Times revealed earlier this month that it had been “virtually a done deal” that Lord Moore would get the post when Sir David Clementi stands down in February.
But the BBC would have been forced to inflate the salary to match what he was earning at the Daily Telegraph in order to entice him into the role.
“Brilliant writer, journalist and thinker”
As well as being a personal favourite of the Prime Minister, Lord Moore received backing from Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, who told the Mail on Sunday: “Charles Moore is one of the most brilliant writers, journalists and thinkers in Britain today.
“Anyone who knows him knows he is open-minded, fair-minded, passionate about this country’s success.
“The BBC is an amazing institution and Charles is someone who would bring a properly Reithian approach to it. He would want to make the BBC succeed.”
Moore ruled himself out of the running at the start of the month, but revelations around his pay have sparked outrage on social media.
A mark of how badly @BorisJohnson wanted Charles Moore to be BBC chairman is Downing St agreed that the salary for the post could rise from £100,000 to £280,000, to match what Moore is paid by @Telegraph – even though @DCMS pointed out that the government’s official…— Charlotte Edwardes (@chedwardes) October 19, 2020
Mr Johnson’s Government is also reported to be supporting ex-Daily Mail editor and vocal BBC critic Paul Dacre to become chairman of broadcast regulator Ofcom.
Mr Gove said: “Paul Dacre is probably the single most successful newspaper editor of the past three or four decades and he is someone who has defied expectations in the campaigns that he’s run on the environment and to pursue the killers of Stephen Lawrence.
“Because both men are right of centre, and because both of them – like 52 per cent of the people in this country – thought we should leave the European Union, they have been painted in primary colours as somehow demon kings. That is just not true.”