New Culture Secretary defends Sir Alan Sugar’s government job

June 8, 2009 at 4:40 pm Leave a comment

siralanapprentice

In his first appearance at the despatch box as Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Ben Bradshaw has defended the appointment of Sir Alan Sugar to a government advisory role.

Mr Bradshaw, a former BBC journalist, was promoted into the Cabinet on Friday.

On the same day it was announced that Sir Alan, star of BBC reality show The Apprentice, has accepted the role of the Government’s Enterprise Champion.

Downing St said Sir Alan, who will be given a seat in the House of Lords, will act as an adviser to small businesses and Government in the role, and will work closely with Small Business Minister Shriti Vadera and Trade and Investment Minister Mervyn Davis.

Jeremy Hunt, the Shadow Culture Secretary, today asked Mr Bradshaw:

“Do you believe that Sir Alan Sugar can combine his role as host of Britain’s most popular business TV programme with his new job as the government’s enterprise champion, where he will sit in the House of Lords taking the Labour whip?”

The Culture Secretary said it was a matter for the BBC.

“On the face of it, I don’t see there is a conflict of interest here,” he said.

“From my memory of the BBC producer guidelines they were very clear about people who were involved in political programming not doing political jobs.”

He said that Ken Clarke, the Shadow Business Secretary, had previously presented a jazz programme for the BBC “and there was no suggestion there was a conflict of interest there.

“He (Sir Alan) is not being paid. All of his business interests are being put at arms’ length. We’ll have to see how the Trust responds to you.”

Mr Hunt said he had written to the BBC Trust to demand Sir Alan choose between his government job and his role in The Apprentice.

A Tory peer, Lord Lloyd-Webber, has appeared as a judge on BBC talent show I’ll Do Anything.

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