He said that the BBC was losing its audience and revelance, comparing it to “a polar bear on a receding piece of ice”. The former Tory MP was appearing on Thursday night’s edition of BBC Question Time in Weymouth. He was joined by fellow panelists George Eustice MP, Alison McGovern MP, journalist Ash Sarkar and RBS chairman Sir Howard Davies.
The panel was answering a question about whether the British public should continue to support the BBC as a universal public service broadcaster.
Mr Portillo said: “I do not believe the licence fee can survive.”
The former Cabinet Minister pointed out that the organisation was no longer able to attract younger people, who refused to pay the licence fee.
He said that young people had no connection to the broadcasting organisation, as they increasingly consumed their media elsewhere through their smartphones and laptops.
He explained: “These people have any number of opportunities to watch television and they consume it as they wish and when they wish.”
Mr Portillo also pointed out that the public had no access to the channel’s programmes when abroad, even though they had paid their licence fees.
He contentiously suggested that the channel could no longer justify its role as a public service provider.
He said: “There’s not much evidence now on the BBC that it is performing a public service role.
JUST IN: Leftie BBC QT panelist sparks fury after immigration comment
The former Tory MP told the Question Time audience: “The point is that twenty years ago Netflix was a corner shop renting videos tapes.
“Today it is spending ten billion dollars on content.
“Twenty years ago the BBC was a global name. Today the BBC is wedded to the licence fee.
“It is like a polar bear on a receding piece of ice.”
ITV presenter Piers Morgan whole heartedly agreed with Mr Portillo’s scathing assessment of the BBC.
The former Daily Mirror editor tweeted: “He’s spot on. Young people don’t & won’t pay the licence fee, so the BBC either adapts its biz model or withers away.