According to a report by the Financial Times on Monday, Purnell will be given responsibility for the BBC’s radio output when Helen Boaden, the current head of the radio division, retires in the fall. Although this wouldn’t include oversight of BBC radio’s influential news and current affairs programming — that would remain under news chief James Harding — the impending promotion has nevertheless sparked a backlash in Westminster.The Daily Telegraph, Times, Sun, Daily Express and Daily Mail all followed up the story on Tuesday, quoting Conservative MPs complaining about Purnell’s lack of experience making radio shows and that his background as a Labour politician raised questions about political bias. “Tory MPs said the move would make a mockery of the BBC’s duty to be impartial,” the Mail reported.According to the Times, John Whittingdale, one of Purnell’s successors as culture secretary, has urged the BBC to rethink the decision to give Purnell power over radio.The Mail added in an editorial: “Put to one side entirely legitimate concerns about the BBC’s Left-wing, metropolitan bias. What makes former Labour Cabinet minister James Purnell, who has little or no programme-making experience, a good choice to run BBC Radio?”Purnell, 46, was a Labour MP from 2001 until 2010 and was seen as a rising star in the party. He served as secretary of state for culture, media and sport, and work and pensions under Brown, until he dramatically resigned in June 2009, urging Brown to stand aside to avoid Labour losing the election to the Conservatives. His appointment as Hall’s strategy guru at the BBC (where Purnell had worked before entering parliament) prompted reports in the right-wing press of “left-wing bias.”The backlash against Purnell taking a larger editorial role doesn’t augur a smooth progression to the corporation’s top job. Also On POLITICO Tories back away from drastic BBC reforms By Alex Spence David Cameron’s latest battleground: the BBC By Alex Spence James Purnell, the BBC’s head of strategy and a former Labour cabinet minister under Gordon Brown, is a leading contender to take over as director-general of the public broadcaster when Lord Hall of Birkenhead stands down.In the last two days though, we’ve had a glimpse of just how difficult politically it would be for Purnell to ascend to the most important job in British media.Purnell — who has been one of Hall’s closest advisers since joining the BBC in March 2013 — is about to be given an expanded brief after playing a central role in negotiating the BBC’s new operating charter.