11 Nov 2012

BBC’s Lord Patten: ‘Tough decisions’ may involve jobs

Further members of staff could be following former director-general George Entwistle out of the doors of the BBC in the wake of the Newsnight scandal, BBC Trust Chairman Lord Patten says.

Speaking to Channel 4 News Chief Correspondent Alex Thomson on Sunday, Lord Patten said the trust would be reviewing a report into the process which led to an episode of Newsnight, which implicated a senior Tory figure in child sex abuse, being aired.

“We are looking this afternoon into a report into how that Newsnight programme was made,” Lord Patten said.

“We’ve also got other reports as you know by the former head of Sky and a distinguished judge and they will involve us, I’m sure, in making some tough decisions and those decisions may involve people’s jobs as well.”

Lessons learnt

However, Lord Patten said that he would not be resigning unless he fails in his role to ensure that “the lessons learnt from this tragedy are put in place”.

Geoerge Entwistle (Reuters)

“If, when these inquiries have reported, people think we haven’t properly implemented their recommendations and haven’t learnt from the tragedy then clearly I wouldn’t stay.”

He denied that he should have taken a more active role in the Newsnight programme, which was shown on Friday 2 November, despite having seen tweets, before Mr Entwistle, which warned about the Conservative figure being named.

He said: “When I saw that Twitter [sic] I certainly didn’t try to intervene in a programme and it is completely absurd to suggest that I should have done.”

Mr Patten was speaking the day after Mr Entwistle fell on his own sword, after just two months in the job, in the latest scandal surrounding Newsnight.

In a statement last night, the director-general said it was the “honorable thing to do” to resign his position. Tim Davie, who had been named as the new chief executive of BBC Worldwide, has stepped in as acting director-general.

Watch the full interview with Lord Patten below.