Call for neutral BBC head

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The Independent Online

The chances of media regulator Ed Richards becoming the next BBC head may have been dealt a blow by a petition demanding an appointee free from political affiliations.

Mr Richards, the chief executive of Ofcom, is favourite to succeed BBC Director-General Mark Thompson, but he has strong ties to the Labour Party and worked as an adviser to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

The campaign group 38 Degrees has garnered more than 35,000 signatures for a petition that urges the BBC Trust to choose a candidate free from political allegiances.