MPs clash over whether Nick Robinson is ‘destroying’ the Today programme
Labour MP Barry Sheerman is not a fan of the former BBC political editor.
"Nick Robinson giving Theresa May a thoroughly good grilling," purred Barry Sheerman as the prime minister was interviewed on the Today programme in October last year.
But less than a year later, the veteran Labour MP has changed his tune quite drastically.
As digital, culture, media and sport questions got under way in the Commons, Sheerman declared: "I love the BBC, even when Sarah Sands, the new editor of the Today programme, and Nick Robinson, seem to be destroying that programme at the moment."
The harsh verdict follows reports that two of the team of presenters accused Robinson of "uncollegiate" behaviour after he demanded to present the show the day after the election.
It also comes as Sands, the former Evening Standard editor, appears to be featuring more arts, culture and lifestyle in the Today programme. Much to the dismay of news junkies such as Sheerman.
Yesterday, in the space of a few minutes on Twitter, he claimed the programme was ignoring "our post-Brexit future", accused Robinson of failing to ask tough questions and suggested that he taking over the programme. And he reckoned that the former BBC political editor had only been sent to California to conduct interviews with tech chiefs as a way of "calming the situation" in the Today team.
The programme had given up on being "the premier morning news source" in the UK, he concluded.
But in the Commons the programme was robustly defended by culture minister Matt Hancock, who said he was especially happy with Robinson being sent to California.
"As for the Today programme, I thought that Nick Robinson’s broadcasts from Silicon Valley yesterday were superb.
"It was all about the interesting changes that are going on in the world and in the economy through AI and digital. And I thought it was another excellent direction for the BBC."
Picture by: Yui Mok/PA Wire/PA Images.