William Hague has called on broadcasters to offer "real quality" at Christmas, amid claims the BBC is repeating more often than a hearty Christmas dinner.
The Commons Leader was pressed to give MPs a debate on the BBC meeting its commitment on public broadcasting following reports that re-runs will dominate BBC One, BBC Two, ITV 1 and Channel 4 during the festive period.
Mr Hague conceded he could not meet the request, adding it would be unlikely to influence the Christmas schedule.
Speaking in the Commons, Conservative backbencher Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet and Rothwell) told Mr Hague: "You may have noticed the reports this morning that this year the BBC at Christmas is showing more repeats than ever before.
"When I buy a DVD I don't expect to keep paying for it year-on-year.
"Could we please have a debate on the BBC getting back to its remit and charter on public broadcasting instead of lazily repeating more often than a hearty Christmas dinner?"
[Related: In defence of Christmas repeats]
Mr Hague replied: "Initially when I saw the headline about the proportion of repeats I thought it was talking about speeches by (shadow chancellor Ed Balls), but it did turn out to be about Christmas shows on the BBC.
"I'm sure they will - well, I hope - in the BBC will be listening to what you say.
"So although I can't offer a debate - and a debate before Christmas would be unlikely to change the Christmas schedule of the broadcasters - I hope they will be trying to give real quality to the public this Christmas season."
A BBC spokesman claimed the corporation invests more in television at Christmas than any other UK broadcaster, adding more than 90% of programmes in peak time on BBC One will be new.
He said: "There are some carefully chosen repeats in the mix including family favourites and much loved treats from previous years, including The Royle Family and the Vicar of Dibley."