Cabinet ministers believe the ITV companies will be forced to back
down over their plans to move News at Ten.
Senior Government sources said this week that they expected the
Independent Television Commission to block ITV’s proposal for the news
bulletins to be rescheduled at 6.30pm and 11.30pm. ’We believe the ITV
companies will have to think again,’ one ministerial source said.
Tony Blair intends to increase the pressure for a U-turn by criticising
the plan in the Commons on 21 October, at the first session of Prime
Minister’s Question Time since the summer recess.
Further Government pressure emerged in a letter from Chris Smith, the
Culture Secretary, to Gerald Kaufman, chairman of the Commons Culture,
Media and Sport Select Committee.
Smith insisted the final decision was a matter for the ITC, but argued
the ITV plan did not meet its legal requirement under the 1990
Broadcasting Act to provide news of a standard ’to compete effectively
with other news programmes broadcast nationwide’.