LAST week, Tim Davie spoke to a meeting of Tory MPs. So what? People talk to MPs all the time, especially if they have something to sell. But this was different. Davie had something special to trade – the integrity and impartiality of the BBC.

As director-general, he was better placed than most to make the deal. The director-general of the BBC is the corporation’s chief executive ­officer. The person responsible for the ­creative, editorial and operational leadership of the BBC.

In a previous life, Davie (below) was a failed Tory ­candidate. He unsuccessfully stood as a ­councillor for the Conservative Party in the Hammersmith and Fulham Council elections in 1993 and 1994 and was deputy chairman of the Hammersmith and Fulham Conservatives in the 1990s.

The National: BBC director-general Tim Davie met with the Board of Deputies of British Jews (Jacob King/PA)

In today’s BBC, it seems these are textbook qualifications to be the boss.

Why was he meeting with fellow Tories? Well, it seems Tory MPs are concerned about ­immigration. Happily, he was able to ­reassure them that Sir Robbie Gibb is ­reviewing the BBC’s migration reporting policy. As plain ­Robbie Gibb, he was a former director of ­communications for the Tories.

Isn’t that just cosy.

All of this cosiness gives rise to a number of obvious questions.

Has Davie offered to meet with concerned MPs from other parties?

Or does he only meet with concerned Tories?

How was this meeting arranged?

Does he plan to meet with others concerned about BBC coverage?

Why is the BBC exercised to this degree only by its coverage of immigration?

Remember, this is the corporation that ­bellows its commitment to “impartiality” from the very rooftops. Is it any wonder then that more and more people reject this claim?

Of course, the BBC has form in its dealings with Tories. Former BBC chairman Richard Sharp (below) – a key Tory donor – was forced out over revelations that his appointment in 2021 followed on the heels of his efforts to help the then-prime minister, Boris Johnson, secure a loan.

The National: BBC chairman post

You might think in the light of this less-than-stellar record, the BBC might want to behave like Caesar’s wife and be seen to be above ­suspicion. Not a bit of it.

Instead, it has chosen to be schizophrenic. While favouring Tories, it has set up BBC ­Verify. What is BBC Verify? According to the BBC, its role is to examine the facts and claims behind a story to try to determine whether or not it is true. 

Yes, really! The BBC has appointed itself judge, jury and executioner for all news.

And BBC Verify makes this commitment. “We’re particularly interested in claims you have heard people making. It could be ­something you’ve heard said about a story in the news or seen circulating on social media that just doesn’t feel right. Or it can simply be something you’ve always wanted to know the truth about.”

(Some say that several days’ output by BBC Scotland news could keep BBC Verify busy for years.) And you can test the claims for yourself. Simply go to the BBC Verify website and raise your concerns with it directly. A cursory glance at the BBC Verify website suggests that its coverage of Scottish matters is limited. So, your questions may help give this coverage more balance.

Some claim the Verify unit is dangerous ­because BBC journalists have no special ­skillset that makes them better arbiters of truth than the rest of us. But they do have power – the power that comes from having the largest news platform and the British state behind them.

It is well known that BBC people are very ­exercised when the corporation is described as a “state broadcaster”. This is understandable; but increasingly hard to resist when it is funded by the state, via a poll tax, and its top ­management is selected by the government of the day.

Here’s a test. The Tories will lose the next ­General Election. Watch the BBC coverage of the UK Labour Party in the weeks and months ahead. You will likely see a major change in ­reporting. It’s a policy change that’s ­already ­being trialled in Scotland. Labour here ­presently get oodles of sympathetic reporting, by ­commission and omission. Any issues that hint at a difficulty for their Scottish branch office get little or no ­coverage.

Tory management of the BBC is unlikely to outlast the election of a Labour government who will put their own lackeys in control. BBC backscratching is built in.

The answer to all of this venality is simple. A written constitution would take control of broadcasting out of the hands of jobbing ­politicians and place it in non-partisan hands.

In the meantime, a Citizens’ Panel should ­review the BBC’s performance in Scotland. If not, the BBC brand may be so badly tarnished that it cannot be recovered.