The appointment of Sir Michael Lyons as the Chairman of the new BBC Trust follows the appointment in recent years of Labour supporters Gavyn Davis as BBC Chairman and Greg Dyke as Director General – not to mention his predecessor Lord Birt who went to work for Tony Blair after leaving the BBC.
Lyons is a former Labour Councillor and serial local government bigwig. More recently he has been commissioned by Gordon Brown to oversee major governmental reviews, getting paid almost half a million pounds to do so.
Tory Culture, Media and Sport spokesman Hugo Swire has responded thus:
"We congratulate Sir Michael on his appointment. However, today we have a situation where important appointments – increasingly dominated by Labour supporters – are made without any form of public scrutiny. It is deeply regrettable that another announcement should have been sneaked out when Parliament is in recess. People are entitled to ask on what criteria Sir Michael Lyons – someone with close links to the Labour Party and Gordon Brown in particular – was selected for this role. It is time for major public appointments such as this to be conducted with greater transparency and to receive greater Parliamentary scrutiny – which could be in the form of a Parliamentary confirmation hearing from the relevant committee. But to have a situation where an applicant from a confidential shortlist is announced when Parliament is not sitting is unacceptable."
This Guardian interview from 2004 is worth a look:
"You can ask Sir Michael Lyons pretty much anything, but don’t ask the government’s favourite son whether he is still a card-carrying member of the Labour party. "I’d rather not answer that question," the former Labour councillor says with a steady gaze. The response is perhaps not surprising. Where government reviews are concerned, Lyons proves to be the bookie’s favourite."