Conservative MP Rob Wilson has told Guido that he believes the BBC have “dragged feet consistently” over the allegations surrounding Jimmy Savile. Accusing Lord Patten and George Entwistle of compromising their positions, Wilson says:
“The BBC, at every turn in this dreadful affair, is giving the appearance that it wishes to avoid its duty in getting to the bottom of what has been going on within the Corporation. It has dragged feet consistently. Both George Entwistle and BBC Trust now appear to be rather compromised with regard to decisions about an independent inquiry. Entwistle because he should not be part of a process where his own actions, particularly as they relate to the Newsnight Savile investigation, may be the subject of significant scrutiny (which they should be) and Lord Patten and the BBC Trust because they appear to be fighting the BBC’s cause rather than holding it to account on behalf of the license fee payer.”
Guido has also seen an exchange of letters appearing to show how the BBC has carefully altered its position in the face of both public and political pressure. Despite the Beeb initially ruling out an inquiry at all before succumbing to an internal investigation, Patten spins the u-turn as a “misinterpretation” of his original position. Following further letters of complaint Patten then finally announced a full, independent inquiry. They’ll be making that on-air apology in no time then.
Wilson has also written to Entwistle asking for clarification of his involvement in the decision to spike a Newsnight report into Savile. The Tory MP suggests that Entwistle must have been aware of the rumours surrounding Savile at the time and his 2007 interview with the police under caution. Very awkward questions to answer. The pressure is mounting…