The BBC is considering hiring a left-wing former editor who has spoken out against Brexit to oversee its news channels.
Jess Brammar, who ran HuffPost UK until April, has emerged as favourite for the newly created post of executive news editor, despite a promised drive for better impartiality at the corporation.
As head of the left-leaning site, she set an editorial agenda that was aggressive in its criticism of Brexit, Boris Johnson and swathes of government policy.
A vociferous Twitter user, it emerged on Saturday that Ms Brammar had deleted hundreds of previous tweets.
However, The Telegraph has recovered tweets in which she suggests Brexit was bad for the NHS, and poking fun at Mr Johnson.
She also used the platform to prosecute high-profile spats with cabinet ministers, such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, Dominic Raab and Kemi Badenoch, part of a campaign against what she described as “smears” against her journalists.
Jess Brammar, who ran the HuffPost UK new website until April
Earlier this year Ms Brammar, who was previously deputy editor of BBC Newsnight, also tweeted that a camp within number Number 10 “don’t want to reach out to minorities”.
During Theresa May’s premiership she tweeted about Parliamentary wrangling over Brexit forcing the then-prime minister to delay the launch of the NHS 10-year plan, opining: “Just in case you need an indication of what Brexit is doing to UK politics”.
Critics of the BBC last night said the proposed appointment showed the corporation had “learnt nothing” and had a “death wish”.
Ms Brammar’s appointment is understood to be stalled while management attempting to vet her previous comments.
It comes after Tim Davie, the new Director General, said BBC journalists should be “activists for impartiality”, threatening to fire employees, including on-screen stars, who break the rules.
The row erupted after it was reported that Ms Brammar’s candidacy was being opposed internally by non-executive director of the BBC who formerly worked as a Conservative aide and Theresa May’s head of communications.
Sir Robbie Gibb reportedly texted Fran Unsworth, the director for news and current affairs, saying she “cannot make this appointment” because the government’s “fragile trust in the BBC will be shattered” if it went ahead.
Before working for the former prime minister, Sir Robbie spent more than 20 years as a BBC journalist, ending up in overall charge of the corporation’s political programme output.
As a current member of the BBC board, he has no direct involvement in the recruitment of a new executive news editor, as the appointment is made by BBC management.
It is understood that the BBC disputes the precise wording of the texts, but not the claim that Sir Robbie attempted to intervene.
‘The BBC has a death wish’
Philip Davies, a former member of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said: “This proposed appointment shows the BBC has learnt absolutely nothing about why it has lost touch with huge swathes of the country.
“If they really think that what they are short of is a left-wing, politically correct Remainer then they have truly lost the plot.
“It seems the BBC has a death wish and this will just hasten the end of the licence fee.
“The fact that we do checks means some appointments take a while.”
A BBC spokesperson said: “As the BBC has set out, we do not comment on ongoing recruitment processes – which are the responsibility of the executive.
“For absolute clarity, no recruitment process has been blocked. The responsibility for staff appointments rests with the executive, not the BBC board.
“Board members are able to discuss issues with other board members; they I are also able to raise issues with senior executives. It is essential that board members can debate and discuss issues.
“They have an absolute right to do so and it is fully consistent with having a unitary board. What individual board members can’t do is make decisions which are for the executive. That hasn’t happened. Good governance principles were adhered to.”