Edwina Currie - 'nothing to hide' on Savile

Greg Dyke said the BBC should have acknowledged the seriousness of the allegations sooner.

Former health minister Edwina Currie has said she has "nothing to hide" over her involvement in giving Sir Jimmy Savile a role at Broadmoor in 1988.

The Sunday Telegraph reports she appointed him to the taskforce at the hospital where he has been accused of sexually assaulting patients.

His appointment is being investigated by the Department of Health (DoH).

Kenneth Clarke, who was health secretary at the time, says he was unaware of any claims against Savile.

Police say they have identified 200 potential victims of the late BBC presenter.

Mrs Currie, who was a health minister in 1988, said notes on the links between Savile and Broadmoor were in the archives.

She told the BBC: "The Department of Health is currently digging them out.... It goes back at least 25 years, even 30 years and isn't just to do with me at all.

"But as and when documents do surface, they should be published in full. I have nothing to hide."

Start Quote

Until two months ago, no politician or journalist would have dared attack Jimmy Savile”

End Quote Kenneth Clarke Former health secretary
Not significant

Former justice secretary Kenneth Clarke - who was health secretary in the 1980s - said later that the appointment of Savile at Broadmoor was "not significant enough" for him to have had any involvement.

"He was regarded as a public celebrity," said Mr Clarke in a BBC interview, "a national hero and a man who did charitable work.

"Until two months ago, no politician or journalist would have dared attack Jimmy Savile.

"As secretary of state, I may have been told about it. But I honestly can't remember. It was not significant enough.

"It was Edwina Currie. She was my junior minister. It plainly created not the slightest interest at the time."

Earlier on Sunday former BBC director general Greg Dyke accused the corporation's current management of making mistakes in its handling of the Jimmy Savile allegations.

Serious issue

He said: "The first statements about this were not strong enough and were not saying 'this is a really serious issue and needs to be examined'. It's not enough to say, we looked in our files".

Mr Dyke also said he believed the editorial reasons for not running a Newsnight programme last year about the accusations should have been more clearly explained.

A former barrister, Kate Lampard, has been appointed to oversee the DoH's investigation into Savile's involvement with Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Leeds General Infirmary, Broadmoor and inside the DoH itself.

It comes after the Sun newspaper said Savile assaulted a 17-year-old patient during a visit to Broadmoor as a hospital fundraiser in the 1970s.

Jimmy Savile More than 200 potential victims of sex abuse by Savile have come forward

Savile died on 29 October 2011, at the age of 84.

On Friday, the Metropolitan Police announced it had started a formal criminal investigation into Savile and other living people after a "staggering" number of victims had come forward.

The police involvement began after ITV broadcast an investigation in Savile's behaviour called Exposure, the Other Side of Jimmy Savile, on 3 October, 2012.

In it, several women alleged he sexually abused them when they were under-age. Other alleged victims then came forward after the broadcast.

Internal review

The NSPCC children's charity said he may have been "one of the most prolific sex offenders" it had come across.

Meanwhile, the BBC is to air a special edition of Panorama, looking into the issues surrounding the allegations about Savile, on BBC One on Monday.

The corporation has launched an internal review into Savile's time at the BBC - it is being led by former Court of Appeal judge Dame Janet Smith.

A second inquiry will examine whether there were any failings in the BBC's management of the Newsnight investigation relating to allegations of sexual abuse of children by Savile.

The BBC is also to appoint an independent expert to look at sexual harassment claims and practices from the 1970s until the present day.

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