ONE of the “really big issues” for BBC viewers is whether the corporation represents Scotland, director-general Tim Davie has admitted.

Davie was speaking to MPs on the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee this morning, and took questions on a range of issues including the licence fee cost, political allegiance of staff and Tory plans for more “distinctively British” programming.

Davie appeared alongside BBC chair Richard Sharp and chief operating officer Leigh Tavaziva.

During the session, they were questioned about claims that Theresa May’s former comms director Sir Robbie Gibb, who is on the BBC board, tried to block the hiring of journalist Jess Brammar as head of news channels on political grounds.

Brammar has faced criticism from right-wing figures for expressing anti-Brexit and anti-Boris Johnson sentiment in a series of now-deleted tweets.

Davie was asked if Fran Unsworth, former BBC news chief, left as a result of Brammar’s (below) appointment.

He said: “Not in the slightest. Nothing to do with the latest incident. This was a planned move. Fran is an exceptional executive, if you look through her record. This is a plan that has got absolutely nothing to do with the Jess Brammar appointment.”

The National:

Davie added: “We need to hire the best at the BBC and we need to hire across the political spectrum. That is an incredibly important precedent and this affair is dangerous territory for us.

“Not because of the process but because if people begin doubting our ability to hire people with views into the BBC, and when they get here they leave them at the door – political views.”

Davie later insisted that he did not want the Brammar row to distract him from the work of serving licence fee payers – adding that is what he is “focused on”.

“Now I don’t want to sound pig-headed about that, or complacent,” he told the Westminster committee. “But when I drive 100 miles from here the key concerns are what have you got for me at 9 o'clock tonight? Is Bob and Paul’s fishing show on, how many have you got – they’re the kind of questions we get.

“And critically our local services, do we represent Scotland, is our view being heard? These are the really big issues for the license fee payer and I’m not complacent. I think we’ve got a lot of work to do by the way. You need to deal with these things …”

The SNP have been contacted for comment.

The exchange comes after The National revealed that while Reporting Scotland ran 10 negative stories about the Scottish Government last week, its UK-wide equivalent News at Six ran none about the UK Government.

READ MORE: Research finds BBC’s lack of Tory scrutiny is ‘failing’ viewers

SNP MSP Rona Mackay criticised the BBC over the findings, arguing the broadcaster was “failing to deliver on their own editorial guidelines”.

“It is hard to believe Reporting Scotland and its sensationalist reporting are from the same organisation as the too-often acquiescent BBC News at Six,” she told The National.

“BBC bosses needs to explain to audiences the gross disparity in their editorial treatment between north and south of the Border.”

A BBC spokesperson said: “Journalists across the BBC always strive for fairness, accuracy and impartiality in their reporting of news stories for our audiences across all our platforms.”