BBC director general to meet MPs over Savile next week

 

Harriet Harman: "What has deepened the revulsion is that this happened at the BBC"

BBC director general George Entwistle has offered to appear before MPs next week over the Sir Jimmy Savile scandal.

Mr Entwistle's decision to bring forward his appearance surfaced as MPs criticised the BBC.

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman said the Savile abuse claims "cast a stain" on the corporation, but Culture Secretary Maria Miller dismissed calls for an independent inquiry.

Police believe Savile may have sexually abused 60 people since 1959.

Mr Entwistle had been due to appear in front of MPs later this year, but he offered to bring it forward to 23 October, said culture committee chairman John Whittingdale.

Mr Whittingdale said he was "sure" MPs would take Mr Entwistle up on his offer.

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman told MPs that Savile's "exalted" status within the corporation allowed him to act with impunity.

She said: "Everyone has been sickened by the vile abuse perpetrated by Jimmy Savile. It's impossible to overstate the suffering he caused to those he abused.

"What has deepened the revulsion is that this happened at the BBC, an institution so loved and trusted it is known as Auntie. This has cast a stain on the BBC."

Mrs Miller told the Commons she was satisfied the corporation was taking the allegations "very seriously," saying the BBC had launched three reviews.

"The first will look particularly at the allegations with regard to the item on Savile which was inappropriately pulled from Newsnight," she said.

A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport later clarified that Ms Miller had misread her statement and meant the inquiry would look into allegations the Savile investigation was inappropriately pulled.

Mrs Miller added that the BBC's second review - undertaken when the police advised it was appropriate to do so - would focus on Savile himself.

"And although the BBC's child protection policy was overhauled in 2002, the review will also focus on whether its policy is fit for purpose and what lessons can be learnt. That will be assisted by an independent expert," she added

Revulsion

A third review would look at wider allegations of sexual harassment at the corporation, Mrs Miller said.

"These are undoubtedly very serious matters that have wide-ranging implications for a number of public institutions, not just the BBC. It is now crucial we understand what went wrong and how it can be put right."

A man has claimed in The Sun newspaper that he was assaulted by Savile as a nine-year-old boy scout

Mrs Miller was speaking in response to a question from Tory MP Rob Wilson, who said he had a "number of major concerns that the investigations announced by the BBC will not be sufficiently independent, transparent and robust to give the public confidence."

Mrs Miller said there was no need for a wider inquiry while the police investigation was going on. It was crucial detectives were allowed to continue their investigation "unfettered" by other inquiries, she said.

Meanwhile, Savile's youngest-known victim has spoken, a man who said he was abused after he appeared on his TV show Jim'll Fix It aged nine.

Kevin Cook told the BBC: "He led me off, we went down some corridors, through some doors, we went off to a really dingy dressing room.

"He took me in there and again asked me if I wanted my badge, which I said yes, and that's where it took place. He sat me down in a chair, he stood in front of me, and that's where he assaulted me."

In other developments on Monday:

  • A former chairman of the branch of the Prison Officers Association at Broadmoor Special Hospital, Frank Mone, said Savile would not have been left alone with patients there. It follows a claim from a former patient that Savile sexually assaulted him in the early 1970s
  • Former Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis has denied claims he groped two women in BBC studios

Scotland Yard, which is co-ordinating the investigation, said it was following up 340 lines of inquiry on Savile and was in contact with 14 other police forces.

Police said the allegations spanned six decades, with reports up to and including 2006.

Savile, who presented Top of The Pops and Jim'll Fix It in the 1970s and 80s, died in October 2011, aged 84.

 

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  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 389.

    "The mills of God grind slowly but grind us one and all"& that includes all those venomous responses about a man who hasn't been proved guilty of anything yet. Lets see what the final outcome is before ranting so vociferously. Don't criticise the splinter in someones eye till you see the plank in your own...what happened to " let him who is without sin cast the first stone" hypocrisy at its best.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 388.

    BBC.....
    What goes around comes around,
    People in glass houses should not throw bricks
    Karma
    How's about that then?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 387.

    Why didnt these stories emerge before his death?

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 386.

    What we should be trying to learn from all of this is that it's not acceptable for anyone to simply stand by and do nothing whilst abuse is taking place - whether you're a BBC manager, a nurse at Stoke Mandeville, or whatever. People have to understand that they must have the courage to report it - and not take 'no' for an answer - if they suspect things like this.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 385.

    This is an entirely distasteful episode in so many ways.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 384.

    Two observations. One the press stir up public hysteria and the MPs dance to the tune - where are you Levison. Two , the Sun seem to be leading the campaign, is this because they are trying to shine a light away from their own skeletons in the closet. If Savile did these things then we know what he was, I can't see any point in spending this money on an enquiry , use it to make sure it stops now

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 383.

    357. Indication
    The BBC have acted just like the Catholic Church in they way that they have covered up child abuse.
    I fail to see how they can now objectively report on the Catholic Church scandal as they are guilty of the same thing.
    ///////
    Jumping to conclusions a bit, aren't we?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 382.

    Should it transpire that the allegations against JS be true, then all those who knew and tried to cover up are criminally liable for perverting the course of justice, are they not? How should the BBC pay if it is complicit in a any coverup? That's the interesting bit.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 381.

    @328 "Don't speak ill of the dead".

    So by that logic we're not allowed to criticise or say bad things about Adolf Hitler, Sadam Hussain, Osama Bin Laden, Gaddafi etc?

  • Comment number 380.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 379.

    The BBC aren't to blame in this, that's like blaming an employer if there's a serious crime. It seems other Authorities thought he was innocent until proven innocent.

  • Comment number 378.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 377.

    356. heaven1977

    " Yes the BBC management of the time have questions to answer, but they are hardly the only ones."

    This is the point those who say it's some anti BBC stitch-up ignore. The allegations look to be wide ranging and involving many different organisations.

    We know already, a lot of people have a lot of disturbing evidence and some knew very well Saville was abusing.....

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 376.

    The cynic in me makes me think the Government are secretly pleased with the Savile scandal. It diverts attention from the pressure on Andrew Mitchell to resign after the Downing Street Plebgate event.

    The conspiracy theorist in me even wonders if the Government engineered the timing of this scandal - something they've know about for a long time 'saving it up' to divert political scandal.

  • Comment number 375.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 374.

    Some of those leads will be incorrect or false (As is the nature of some people with a situation like this). I think it may be wise to let the Police and authorities carry out their investigations first. Let's remember an innocent family, just having got over a loved one's death, now has to face the accusations against him. They are victims as well.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 373.

    A few questions

    1 is turning a blind eye to an employee who listens to private voicemails because he gets good stories ,worse than ignoring savilles actions .

    2 do the BBC deserve a leverson style witch hunt with live streaming of every detail on tv and radio .

    3 what kind of BBC do we want to emerge from this mess.

    4 can we keep politics out . After the BBC took it into leverson .

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 372.

    Quite a lot of BBC "little foot clicking soldiers" pontificating on this one. They won't give you a reduction on your license fee !

    The more that emerges on this, the seedier looking he gets.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 371.

    This is a Police matter, nothing to do with the BBC (do they have a private militia force).
    The BBC, refer 'rumours' to the Police? No official complaints had been made.
    Compensation, the fix for all the victims who never came forward at an opportune time. The only accusations I can level (at the BBC) is the woman who saw a sexual assault, did nothing, now drowning in her tears NEWS WASTE!.

  • rate this
    -4

    Comment number 370.

    He's dead, so no-one will ever prove beyond doubt that he was guilty. How is it that he went years without a single allegation against him? Why is it that these stories come out after he's dead? Why didn't at least ONE person speak out whilst he was alive? Nobody is so powerful, that they are that afraid of him. Jimmy Savile was never that untouchable. It's just a scandal for people to read.

 

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