NADINE Dorries has been rapped by the Speaker of the House of Commons over leaked information regarding the future of the BBC

Leaked comments reported in the Mail on Sunday told how the Culture Secretary planned to freeze the licence fee for two years. 

Speaker Lindsay Hoyle told Dorries: "There were extensive media stories over the weekend about the future of the licence fee and the funding arrangements for the BBC.

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"The Secretary of State tweeted that the licence fee announcement would be the last. 

"These are very very important matters which affect all our constituents.

"Any substantial policy developments should have been to this House before being made through the media. 

"I am glad we are having a statement today but it is not enough that this house comes second to the media especially on subjects like this."

Dorries announced the change yesterday, tweeting a Daily Mail article which broke the news of the leaked plans.

The news the fee would be frozen was confirmed during Dorries' statement to parliament. 

The Culture Secretary said the fee would rise "in line with inflation" for the four years after 2024. 

She said: “The days of the elderly being threatened with prison sentences and bailiffs knocking on doors are over.” 

Some commentators were quick to point out it was the Tory government who reintroduced the legal requirement for the over-75s to pay the licence fee – which was scrapped 20 years prior by Tony Blair’s government. 

More than 3.9 million pensioners across Britain were affected by the change. 

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Dorries has previously accused the BBC of “left-wing bias” and critics have accused her of attacking “free speech”. 

John Nicolson, the SNP’s spokesperson for media in Westminster, said Dorries was attempting to make broadcast news “as sycophantic as most of the print press”.

Nicolson said: “The Tory right hates the BBC almost as much as it hates Channel 4.

“That’s why Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries—a slavish Boris Johnson loyalist—is so determined to destroy both.

“Ms Dorries doesn’t want to see Krishnan Guru-Murthy, lead presenter at Channel 4 News, or Nick Robinson, a former Chair of the Young Conservatives no less, and now lead presenter on Radio 4’s Today pin Johnson or his slippery apologists down.

“The Tory right wants the broadcast media to be as sycophantic as most of the print press, offering fawning adulation to their malevolent leader.

“If the BBC is felled, and Channel 4 privatised, free speech will be the victim.

“And we will all pay more for obsequious, unquestioning ‘news’.”

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The annual payment, which normally changes on April 1 each year, will be kept at the current rate of £159 until April 2024.

It normally rises in line with inflation - meaning the freeze is expected to force the BBC to cut £2 billion from its budget over the next six years. 

The goverment hass pledged to increase the borrowing limit of the BBC's commercial arm to £750 million to offset the potential squeeze.