Blair urged to pay back BBC

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Tony Blair, the Labour leader, was last night urged by the Conservative Party to refund part of a BBC journalist's pounds 40,000 salary after the disclosure that he is on paid leave to stand as a Labour Party candidate for Exeter, a Tory marginal, in the general election.

The discovery that Ben Bradshaw, 36, was on paid leave from Radio 4's The World at One increased Tory anger about alleged bias at the BBC. Brian Mawhinney, the Tory party chairman, said it was a "disgrace" that licence payers' money was being used to fund Labour Party candidates. "Mr Blair should refund the money to the BBC," he said. But Mr Bradshaw dismissed the criticism as "sour grapes". A BBC spokesman said Mr Bradshaw would be given a new BBC role on Monday.