BBC boss Tim Davie stressed “why the institution matters” as the broadcaster seeks future licence fee increases, as he faced an angry group of Tory MPs.

The BBC director-general took questions from the 1922 Committee, the group which represents the views of Conservative backbenchers in an unusual meeting in the Commons on Wednesday.

The meeting, which was held behind closed doors, is understood to have focused primarily on Tory concerns about the broadcaster’s coverage of the Israel-Hamas war and of migration.

Many Conservatives were infuriated by the broadcaster's decision not to call Hamas a terrorist group and upset further when the broadcaster attributed the bombing of a hospital in Gaza to Israel.  

But it is thought the licence fee, which having remained static for two years since 2022 could rise in line with inflation in April next year, was also raised.  

One Tory MP was heard saying before entering the meeting: “I’m overexcited for this. I’m going to tell him to his face we should abolish the license fee.”

Speaking to reporters as the meeting came to a close a BBC spokesperson said the director-general will have stressed to MPs “why the BBC matters”.

Asked what case the BBC had prepared to make to Tory MPs, they said: “He will have gone in there and he will have quite clearly articulated why the BBC matters, how diligently we’re doing our journalism, why we’re an important asset for the UK and abroad.

“So you know, he will have done a whole load around all of that and why we think the institution matters, but he will also have tackled head on some of the criticisms that he will undoubtedly have had in the room.

“And I think the whole point of coming and speaking to MPs is to listen to people’s concerns and account for ourselves and we recognise that on every issue, we’re not always going to agree, but it is absolutely vital that the BBC listens and hears the comments of MPs, I think that’s important.”

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On whether the BBC would be arguing for future licence fee increases, they said the “ball’s in Government’s court” and that the corporation was “a champion for Britain and British values”.

The spokesperson said: “We recognised that there is a cost of living challenge for everyone and I think you’ll have seen that competitors in the market, admittedly the public choose to pay for those, have put their prices up by 30%.

“Obviously, we’re not looking at anything like that for the licence fee, there’s a process around how these things are decided and ultimately we will comment when there is an outcome for that.

“What we would argue is that we think that the BBC is good value for money, we think that it performs an important role both domestically and globally and we are at the heart of the creative industries and for every pound you give to the BBC, you’re generating growth in the economy beyond the BBC.

“So we think it’s an important institution. 60% of the world know who the BBC is, it’s one of our important global exports and, I think, a champion for Britain and British values.

The spokesperson added: “It’s not for me to do the licence fee negotiation, there’s a mechanism set out to do that, it says that the BBC…we’ve taken a flat licence fee over the last couple of years, there’s a mechanism that you will get a rise in line with inflation.

“We’ve had the inflation figures, ball’s in Government’s court and we’ll wait to see what they say and then we will react to it as appropriate but we recognise that the world is tough for people, but we also think we’re good value.”

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in January 2022, when Boris Johnson was prime minister, committed to increasing the licence fee in line with inflation from April 2024 until the end of 2027.

There is uncertainty about how the licence fee will increase beyond that point.