Mike Graham reacts to BBC editor accepting £12,000 speaking fee

Friday, February 14, 2020

Mike Graham has blasted a BBC editor who was paid £12,000 for a speaking at an event.

Kamal Ahmed’s fee caused an outcry among colleagues after the corporation announced 450 job cuts. He is thought to earn up to £205,000 a year as editorial director of BBC News.

Mike said the BBC is “a mess,” adding: “I’ve always believed that people who work for the BBC should not be able to capitalise on their new found fame and fortune by making money off to the side.

“The only reason they are paid for that is because of their role at the BBC, which to all intents and purposes is a civil-service role.

“So, I’m sorry, this guy basically got discovered having done it and that’s why he’s sorry and he’ll probably try and do it again.”

Mr Ahmed has since rejected the payment for the 40-minute speech at a hedgefund conference last week.

He apologised to colleagues in an email, saying he “did not think things through sufficiently at the time of the booking”.

“Although I did not break any of the BBC’s guidelines on internal speaking, it was a mistake to agree to a fee,” he added. 

BBC employees are allowed to take payments for external speaking engagements, as long as they do not undermine the impartiality or integrity of the corporation, or suggest it endorses any third parties.

The broadcaster does not check what engagements its employees attend.

Mike also criticised the broadcaster for airing a debate between Labour leadership candidates, which he said was “ludicrous and ridiculous” and would “bore you to death”.

He concluded: “I’m afraid the BBC is in a very bad place and I’m going to continue to keep putting it in an even worse place.”

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