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Reinfeldt slams minister over licence fee

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11:44 CEST+02:00
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has criticized culture minister Cecilia Stegö Chiló's failure to pay her television licence fee.

"As culture minister you have to pay your television licence. It is very serious that she has not done so earlier and it is an error that must be corrected. I am also very disappointed that I didn't know about it," said Reinfeldt.

The Prime Minister stated that he hade asked Stegö Chiló if there was anything he should know when he appointed her last week.

"Some things did come up but this wasn't one of them."

Reinfeldt said that he has now had a very long discussion with Stegö Chiló.

"I am of the opinion that she should be given a second chance, if only because I think she will be a good culture minister."

"She is going to have a very tough time of it now because she will be criticised, completely justifiably, by people who like the public service system, which needs these fees to employ people and make good programmes."

Former Prime Minister Göran Persson went on the offensive in today's party leader debate.

"It is no small matter when the most senior politician in this area makes a conscious decision not to pay fees. It is a way of undermining everything public service stands for", said Persson.

"It is a flagrant example of a minister placing herself above the law. It is clearly a political demonstration. We will get back to that. But what did the Prime Minister know about this in advance?" Persson continued.

Persson's final term in power was characterised by a spate of minor scandals. Reinfeldt may have had this in mind when replying to his predecessor.

"Does Göran Persson mean to say that this hasn't happened before? Does Göran Persson mean that there have not been earlier examples like this, however regrettable it is in each individual case?"

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