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Jesse Norman to chair UK Media Committee

June 18, 2015

By Colin Mann

Jesse Norman, Conservative MP for Hereford and South Herefordshire, has been elected by fellow MPs to chair the UK House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

He takes over from John Whittingdale, who held the role in the last parliament, and was appointed Secretary of State Culture, Media and Sport in May 2015 under the new Conservative administration. Whittingdale will now be on the receiving end of the Committee’s questioning.

Norman’s ‘Vision for the Committee’ as expressed in his bid for the Committee Chair was:

  • Energetic, focused, but collegial, unified, authoritative and cross-party
  • Wide-ranging, with periodic meetings in major cities and regions across the UK
  • Key areas include: BBC Charter and licence fee; local radio and press; press freedom; football, FIFA but also the FA and lower leagues/grass roots; broadband roll-out; mobile services; tourism; more on the creative industries, social power of the arts
  • Also important to look at the case for fairer local arts and broadcast media funding.

In a blog post in support of his last-minute candidacy he wrote that he was standing because he believed his independence of mind, personal experience, commitment to the brief and willingness to work with colleagues across party lines could be of value to the committee, and to the House of Commons.

“Of course the telecoms and media side of the CMS brief is important, covering as it does broadband and mobile services – so important to my county of Herefordshire – as well as the BBC and press freedom,” he said.

“But the arts and culture side is no less important.  Here my views have been heavily shaped by my involvement with the Hay Festival and the Roundhouse, two extraordinary organisations which have pioneered different forms of artistic exchange and empowerment.  And more recently, by the work I have done to help stop the takeover of Hereford United, and keep football at Edgar Street.”

He also pointed out that he had been making a public argument for the social power of the arts and culture and sport for almost a decade.

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