BBC insiders have said Emily Maitlis was right when she said that Sir Robbie Gibb was an “active agent” of the Tory party who was influencing the broadcaster’s output. 

Although she did not name Gibb in her speech, Maitlis said in an Edinburgh TV festival speech that Theresa May’s former communications chief, 58, was “acting as the arbiter of BBC impartiality” from his seat on the corporation’s board.

The words seemed to resonate with insiders, who have since voiced concerns over Gibb’s eagerness to challenge editorial matters even when he is not fully aware of the details. 

One source told The Times Maitlis’s view was “widely shared” by former colleagues. 

They said: “He’s got a well-deserved reputation for firing off criticism of journalism without being in possession of all the facts.”

READ MORE: Who is Robbie Gibb? The 'Tory agent' Emily Maitlis says influences the BBC

On Thursday, the UK Government came out in defence of Robbie Gibb, saying that he was making a “valuable contribution” towards a push for greater impartiality. 

He has previously faced calls to step down after he attempted to interfere in the hiring of Jess Brammar to oversee the BBC news channels’ output. 

Sources also claimed that Gibb has previously taken issue with Newsnight, the show which Maitlis used to present before leaving the BBC in February. 

He has also clashed with Lewis Goodall, the former Newsnight policy editor, who has joined Maitlis as the co-host on The News Agents podcast. 

Friends of Goodall have said that Gibb had an “obsession” with the journalist, who was a Labour activist in his youth but was never found to be in breach of BBC impartiality rules. 

Some insiders contrasted Gibb’s behaviour with that of James Purnell, the former Labour culture secretary, who held strategy and radio roles at the BBC for seven years. 

One person said Purnell never expressed any views on impartiality. 

Purnell claimed on Friday that he was denied a BBC board role in 2020 because of his political background. 

He said the decision had followed hostility from Boris Johnson’s government. 

Gibb is a senior adviser at Kekst CNC, a communication company, which has described him as a “champion of impartiality in broadcast journalism”. 

The BBC has said that board members are empowered to ensure the corporation delivers on its public purposes, including impartiality. 

READ MORE: Emily Maitlis alleges BBC board member is 'active agent of the Conservative party'

A spokesman said: “The BBC places the highest value on due impartiality and accuracy and we apply these principles to our reporting on all issues.”

Maitlis also suggested in her speech in Edinburgh that there had been interference in the decision to criticise her over remarks about Dominic Cumming’s journey to County Durham during the first lockdown. 

The BBC’s director of content Charlotte Moore said “no way was there any influence from government or from the [BBC] board” over the comments on Newsnight in May 2020.