BRADFORD district's MPs are split when it comes to whether or not the BBC TV licence fee should be scrapped in the near future.

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

Culture secretary Nadine Dorries said the next announcement concerning the BBC’s licence fee “will be the last” as a new funding model is being considered for when the latest deal expires in 2027.

Shipley MP Philip Davies launched a scathing attack on the broadcaster, labelling it outdated, and feels it should be up to the public to decide if they want to pay the fee.

Mr Davies said: “It is completely anachronistic and unjustifiable in this day age of multiple channels for people to have to pay for the BBC whether or not they want to watch it.

"If people did have a choice over paying for the BBC then when they found themselves fed up to the back teeth of the BBC’s obsession with political correctness - not to mention the very real concerns of bias - they could take direct action and decide not to pay for it.

"In this supposedly free country people should not be forced by law to pay for TV and Radio stations they do not want or support.

“It should be a free choice, and if the BBC are so convinced that the licence fee is excellent value for money - as they keep telling us - then why do they need the criminal law to force people to pay?

"Surely - if it is such good value - people would be queuing up round the block to buy it without having to be forced.

"So why are they so worried about people being able to choose?  Maybe they are not as confident in private that the public think it is good value for money.

“It is completely wrong that however badly the BBC perform - and however out of touch they become - they are still guaranteed more income the next year (due to more houses being built).

"And if scrapping the licence fee meant that Gary Lineker had to take a pay cut then so much the better!

“The sooner we scrap the mandatory licence fee the better.”

Bradford West MP Naz Shah (Lab) thinks the Tories are trying to use this to divert attention away from the current controversy at Downing Street.

She said: "The BBC is a national treasure, respected, honoured and admired by millions across the globe.

"At a time when Britain should be playing the role of a world leader, the Conservatives are launching an attack on the BBC by cutting its funding just to move the news away from the Prime Minister's rule-breaking parties."

Keighley MP Robbie Moore added: “I welcome the steps taken to freeze the annual cost of the license fee, ensuring license fee payers get good value for money.

"I conducted a survey for constituents on this exact matter last year. What was clear is that a majority of them want new funding formulas to be explored.”