David Dimbleby has launched a scathing attack on Boris Johnson, branding him a ‘liar’ and accusing him of “apeing” Donald Trump.
The comments come as part of an interview with Germany's ARD state TV channel though some were not broadcast and were later obtained from a transcript by the Daily Mail.
In the comments broadcast by ARD, veteran broadcaster Dimbleby said: “The BBC is under threat in a way it has never been before. 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.”
But comments that reportedly appeared in the transcript went one step further, with Dimbleby saying: “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.”
He also accused the Prime Minister of “apeing” Donald Trump’s attitudes.
Dimbleby’s comments are the latest chapter in an ongoing stand-off between the government and the BBC, which on Friday saw senior Tory MP Huw Merriman criticise the “ideological trench warfare” against the BBC.
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.
But comments revealed last week also suggested that Downing Street wants to replace the licence fee with a subscription model, sparking a backlash.
Merriman, who is chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the BBC, also blamed top aide Dominic Cummings – seen as the driving force for the move – for a “nasty streak” running through Downing Street.
His criticism of Cummings was echoed by Dimbleby in his ARD interview, when he reportedly said: “Johnson's never governed anything, Cummings has never governed anything. They're ignorant…floundering. I don't think they have a strategy.”