Mark Thompson Fingers Chris Patten

Looks like Mark Thompson is going to make a good go of bringing everyone else down with him when he gives evidence to the Public Accounts Committee on Monday. Thompson is accusing Chris Patten, chairman of the BBC Trust, of misleading parliament:

“The picture painted for the PAC by the BBC Trust witnesses on 10 July 2013 was – in addition to specific untruths and inaccuracies – fundamentally misleading about the extent of Trust knowledge and involvement. The BBC Trust witnesses strove repeatedly to play down the significance of the two documents which had emerged at that time, and to make misleading and inaccurate statements, all of which served to minimise and draw attention away from the Trust’s own knowledge and involvement.”

Specifically, this focuses on Patten’s claim he did not know anything about the huge payouts awarded to two BBC executives. Thompson says he is lying:

“In fact, Lord Patten was himself fully briefed, in writing as well as orally, about the Mark Byford and Sharon Baylay settlements soon after his arrival as chairman in 2011.”

Which would be a resigning issue if proven. Tory MP Rob Wilson told Guido last night:

“It is not altogether surprising that Mark Thompson and Chris Patten are fighting like ferrets in a sack. As the light has been shone into the dark corners of the BBC, people with questions to answer have began to mount campaigns to save their own skin. They’ve been caught out and it’s now become every senior executive for himself at the BBC, whether a past D-G or a current chairman of the BBC Trust. It’s all deeply disappointing and embarrassing but altogether predictable.”

Of course Thompson knows all about telling select committees one thing when the opposite turns out to be true




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Quote of the Day

Boris Johnson was shown a trophy monkey head as he toured a room of illegally-poached animals seized by Scotland Yard. He said:

“What’s this poor chap here? Faint air of a … Labour backbencher.”

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