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Less than a day into her new role as British prime minister, Theresa May has already turned heads with a brutal reshuffle of her top cabinet.
Having taken the reins Wednesday afternoon, she promptly sacked the chancellor of the exchequer, or finance minister, George Osborne, and, to the amazement of many, named former London mayor Boris Johnson — considered the scruffy-haired ringleader behind the Brexit decision — as foreign minister. The latter move prompted Ricky Gervais to tweet his amazement: “Just when Britain was starting to become a laughing stock around the world, Boris Johnson is appointed foreign secretary.”
But on Thursday, more major names were removed from the upper echelons of British politics, among them culture secretary John Whittingdale, a man who has been at the forefront of the government’s push for major cutbacks at the BBC and attempts to curtail the public broadcaster’s scope. He once joked that the demise of the BBC was a “tempting prospect.”
Such is the BBC’s impartiality, any pleasure found at Whittingdale’s own demise as culture minister is unlikely to find its way into its news reports. But it seems one employee couldn’t contain his excitement.
In a swiftly deleted tweet, Ed Ram said there were “whoops and cheers in the BBC Newsroom” after Whittingdale was fired. The journalist and filmmaker later said he was simply “joking around,” and a BBC spokesperson said there wasn’t a comment on the matter.
While future comment from BBC employees is likely to remain scarce, given the amount of backlash from the British creative industries to Whittingdale-led attacks on the broadcaster (Armando Iannucci told the Edinburgh TV Festival last year it was akin to asking the BBC to consider “assisted suicide”), the culture secretary’s departure may well have seen whoops and cheers far and wide.
No immediate replacement for Whittingdale was named.
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