Richard Madeley and Susanna Reid went head to head during Tuesday’s edition of Good Morning Britain amid a debate about the BBC licence fee.
Earlier this week, culture secretary Nadine Dorries announced a two-year freeze to the licence fee and indicated she wanted to find a new model for the BBC’s funding after its current deal expires in 2027.
While a number of stars have spoken out against the plans, Richard questioned whether the move might be a good thing during Tuesday’s live broadcast.
“We live in a culture of choice, don’t we?” he said. “And we pay for our choices. For example, if I want to watch Netflix, I will pay for Netflix. And I do. If I want to watch Sky, I’ll have a Sky subscription and I do.”
He then argued: “Why should I be paying for Radio 1 that I never listen to? Why should I be subsidising Radio 3 which I never listen to? I actually listen to Classic FM, rather than Radio 3… there are all sorts of BBC services which cost a lot of money that I’m paying for in my licence fee. Why should I?”
Later in the discussion, Susanna – who spent more than a decade at the helm of BBC Breakfast before making the jump to GMB in 2014 – responded to Richard’s point.
She said: “It’s interesting, because what comes to mind when you say ‘why should I pay for the BBC licence fee when I don’t listen to Radio 1 or Radio 3?’... you pay for the NHS through your national insurance, even though you may never want IVF, for instance. Or may never need cancer treatment.
“There’s plenty of things available on the NHS that you would never access.”
“But I elect a government on its agenda on how it’s going to spend my tax money,” Richard said. “I have a choice in that matter.
“I don’t have a choice – it’s a matter of criminality – in whether I pay my licence fee, whereas I elect a government to spend money on my behalf on the NHS or anything else.”
“Well, the NHS will be funded by whichever government you elect,” Susanna pointed out, before noting: “And there are services on the NHS you will never access.”
Remarking on the fact that they were supposed to be moderating the debate, rather than having one between them, Richard then joked: “Sorry, excuse us…”
Among those to speak out in favour of the licence fee in recent days have been MOTD host Gary Lineker, BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker and actor Hugh Grant.
Laying into the government, Hugh said: “The BBC is something the whole world admires with envy.
“It is entirely appropriate that the insecure, spittle-flecked nut jobs of this government want to destroy it.”
Good Morning Britain airs every weekday from 6am on ITV.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.