Jimmy Savile scandal: Labour seeks independent inquiry

Jimmy Savile Police believe Savile may have sexually abused 60 people dating back to 1959

Labour is calling for an independent inquiry into claims of child sex abuse by ex-BBC presenter Sir Jimmy Savile.

Police believe Savile may have sexually abused 60 people since 1959 and the BBC has ordered two reviews.

But Labour leader Ed Miliband told ITV an independent inquiry into "the BBC, parts of the NHS and Broadmoor" was needed to "do right by the victims".

No 10 said the priority was the police investigation. However, it did not rule out a wider inquiry in the future.

It is the first time Labour has called for an independent inquiry into the abuse allegations against Savile, who died in October 2011.

'Major concerns'

A raft of allegations regarding the former BBC DJ and presenter's conduct came to light in the wake of an ITV investigation, which was broadcast on 3 October.

Scotland Yard, which is co-ordinating the investigation into Savile's alleged offences, has said it is following up 340 lines of inquiry.

The BBC has been criticised for not calling Savile's behaviour into question and flagging up any abuse allegations during his long career at the corporation, during which he presented several television shows including Top of the Pops and Jim'll Fix It.

Ed Miliband Ed Miliband said the abuse was "absolutely horrific" and would "scar [the victims] for life".

Abuse is also alleged to have taken place at high-security psychiatric hospital Broadmoor and at Stoke Mandeville hospital and Leeds General Infirmary, where Savile volunteered.

The Department of Health has said it will investigate its own conduct in appointing Savile to lead a "taskforce" overseeing the management of Broadmoor in 1988.

Meanwhile, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust said it would help police if asked to do so.

The BBC has launched two separate internal investigations into the Savile affair. The first will look at why a BBC Newsnight investigation into abuse claims was not brought to air.

The second will look into the culture and practices of the BBC during the years that Jimmy Savile worked at the corporation, and afterwards.

Start Quote

In order to do right by the victims, I don't think the BBC can lead their own inquiry”

End Quote Ed Miliband Labour leader

On Monday Tory MP Rob Wilson told the Commons 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".

But Culture Secretary Maria Miller told MPs she was "confident" BBC chiefs were taking the claims "very seriously" and warned that an outside inquiry could hamper police investigations.

"Everybody would agree that it is really important that those individuals who have been victims know that that investigation can go on unfettered and that that should be our priority at this stage," she said.

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 added.

'Absolutely horrific'

However, speaking to ITV's The Agenda, Mr Miliband said internal investigations were not enough. He said: "In order to do right by the victims, I don't think the BBC can lead their own inquiry.

"We need a broad look at all the public institutions involved - the BBC, parts of the NHS and Broadmoor. This has got to be independent."

Mr Miliband said he believed the sexual abuse was a "pattern of activity which spanned a number of institutions".

He said he felt there were now enough allegations that it was now clear this was "not some isolated set of incidents".

The Labour leader added that the abuse was "absolutely horrific" and would "scar [the victims] for life".

"I think for them, the BBC - good institution though it is - I don't think they can lead their own inquiry," he said.

Meanwhile, BBC director general George Entwistle has offered to appear before the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport select committee over the scandal.

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


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  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    There is enough of a media feeding frenzy without Ed M adding to it. The outcome of any such enquiry will almost inevitably be a whitewash with an enraged media creating a moral panic around any media personality who appears eccentric. It wasn't Saville's eccentricity which made him a threat ot young girls it was his alledged warped sexuality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    It appears Ed Milliband's only real policy is to call for enquiries. Let's have one on everything and to hell with the cost to the public purse (how in keeping with standard Labour policy).

    If only we had a world class, independent force. Backed by the law, with powers of investigation and arrest who could look into this for us. They could wear a uniform too perhaps and keep ou... oh hang on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    This is not about Saville. It is about the victims. They deserve justice and closure. If he is found guilty of any of the 60 (probably more) offences he should be stripped of his knighthood.

    Saville should be treated like any other alleged criminal but with more due diligence due to his privileged position of trust.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    "Dear Jim, I know the voters are very very very very very busy people - but could you fix it for me to become Prime Minister? Yours, Edward."

    Whereas if Disasterous Dave Cameron had thought of it first you'd be the first to start the Happy Clapping. A full independant enquiry is needed so the public can know what truly happened.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    High profile places relied on that evil person for their own gains, I never liked his programs, or trusted his attitude with that huge cigar in his mouth........but he did fool so many, who were affraid to talk of him.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    Using this as political ammunition is deplorable, but not surprising in modern politics.

    In addition, how many countless £millions and hours of police, lawyers' and judges' time will be spent on an enquiry to criminalise a person who is already dead. He's no longer a threat, so lets give the victims all the support they need, and give a sizeable donation to rape and abuse victims' charities.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    were there not better bandwagons for dear Ed to jump aboard?

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    It was Labour that Knighted him, Blair wanted him to have a Baronetcy!

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    I don't support the man nor what he has supposed to have done but have I missed something here? Has he been found guilty ? Remeber how life USED to be, innocent until found guilty? This is trial by media which put into another context is an incredible precedent...think about it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Their must be an indepedent inquiry into the BBC.
    If the alleged abuse ring was active in the BBC based around Top of the Pops was known and covered up, this should be fully exposed.
    I guess there are a few sweaty palms in the BBC community.
    Like Levison and Hillsbourgh the truth must be exposed and purged for the health of our country

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Ed Miliband does my fruit in!! Always wanting inquiries, no parliamentary decision is ever right. I have never seen him talk about what he's going to do. He's like the person who asks "Why didn't someone do something?" then you find out he never attended a meeting or signed the petition. God help us if he gets in power. Anyway isn't the Jimmy Saville thing a Police matter not political?

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Yes, we need a proper inquiry. Not Daily Mail-style gloating over the "nasty BBC".

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    The BBC is handling this whole thing very badly. Of course the opposition are going to call for an independent inquiry - because that is what the BBC should have done itself - to find out what happened and more importantly to ensure this could never happen again.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    And the aim of this enquiry Mr Milliband would be to what end? Please allow the Police to investigate and publish their findings. Surely there is enough legislation in place to prevent any such recurrences. This is typical Milliband - opportunist political gain from others misfortune

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    The showbiz bandwagon has already served it's purpose for Savile who has essentially got away with it.

    People at the head of these organisations must have suspected something wasn't right, enough people brought their attention to it, yet they turned a blind eye.

    Why? The money he was bringing in for them? He was too big to challenge?

    Yes, an independent enquiry is required, no whitewash.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    There should be an independent inquiry as there will personal reputations and jobs at stake here which will try to influence the outcome.
    I really hope that this whole sordid episode will teach the bbc (and others) a lesson and hopefully put an end for once and for all to its unhealthy, awful 'celebrity\stars' culture that has clearly hit the bbc badly. Sadly, however I don't think it will.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    The last thing needed is another Inquiry, or as we all know a feeding fest for overpaid lawyers and MP's. Todays climate and reporting methods make it unnecessary. Politics should have nothing to do with this

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Dear Ed,

    That bandwaggon rolled out of town a few days ago. Please don't regurgitate things people have said in the past, try to set the agenda, not follow other people's agenda. It's like watching Wallace & Grommit happening in real time - slow, annoying and it looks like nothing is changing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    We already have a big organisation that makes enquiries into people who break the law, it is called the Police force.

    Why do we need an enquiry into the believability of complaints? this is a case of public image and celebrity status. The whole reason this came out is due to a TV programme, which says all you need to know about people these days.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Ed Milliband is right. He's not making political capital out of this - one would expect the call for an inquiry to be supported by all parties - these allegations are too serious to be left to some internal affair run by the BBC, and in any case they seem to track his entire 'career', such as it was. So good call Ed, and lets hope that Dave and Nick back you up here. This is above politics.


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