Norfolk MP mocked for BBC flag question

North West Norfolk MP James Wild. Picture: Denise Bradley

North West Norfolk MP James Wild who is campaigning for more dentists to be commissioned in his constituency - Credit: Denise Bradley

A Norfolk MP has faced criticism over his questioning of the BBC's director general.

During a meeting of the Public Accounts Committee, James Wild, the conservative MP for North West Norfolk asked how many images of Union flags have been used in the BBC's annual report.

"In your annual report last year, 268 pages, do you know how many Union flags featured in any of the graphics on those glossy pages?"

Tim Davie, the director general replied in all the briefings he had for the meeting "that was not one of them, I'm afraid".

"Zero," Mr Wild said, asking if Mr Davie found that surprising.

"No," Mr Davie said. "I think that's a strange metric.

"I have to say one of the things I looked at when I came into the building this morning was a Union Jack flying proudly on Broadcasting House. Which it does on many days of the year."

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Mr Davie added part of his work involves travelling around the world promoting the UK.

However, Mr Wild pressed again, saying: "Always good to see the Union Jack flying.

"I just think in a 268-page report about the BBC, the British Broadcasting Corporation, my constituents would expect to see probably more than one flag appearing."

"I just don't see it as a metric," Mr Davie responded.

Mr Wild then asked how many flags were featured in the report The BBC Across The UK released last week.

"I could hazard a guess based on where the question is going, but I haven't looked," Mr Davie said.

Again Mr Wild informed him there were zero and said he hopes to see more next year.

The exchange has received a mixed reaction online, with many mocking Mr Wild.

"This is obviously a major priority during a time of national crisis," one Twitter user said. 

Several pointed out neither the 2019 Conservative manifesto nor Mr Wild's website feature any union flags.

However others were more positive, one said: "What a courageous stand for the very fabric of our nation.

"Our grandchildren will thank you."

Mr Wild's constituency office, which is listed as on the Tuesday Market Place, Kings Lynn, on his website, did not appear to be flying a Union flag when a reporter checked on Tuesday.

James Wild's constituency office in Kings Lynn does not appear to be flying any flags

Mr Wild's constituency office in King's Lynn - Credit: Archant

Robbie, a member of the public, said that seemed hypocritical.

"If you're criticising someone for something, you should be doing it too," he said.

However, Trevor Bailey, another member of the public, said comparing Mr Wild to a corporation like the BBC would not be fair.

"People should be able to choose to do whatever they want, he doesn't have to have a flag if he doesn't want to."

The office did not appear to have any Union flags flying from the building when checked on Tuesday.

Mr Wild was approached for comment.