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New chairman Patten rejects BBC car

Michael Crick | 16:21 UK time, Friday, 6 May 2011

The new chairman of the BBC Trust, Chris Patten, has rejected the idea of being chauffeured around by a full-time BBC car and BBC driver.

Lord Patten was told this week that he was entitled to both perks as part of his new high-powered job.

But to everyone's surprise - and amusement - Patten suddenly announced that he preferred to go by public transport. He knew the locations of underground stations and bus-stops, he told colleagues.

A specific salaried BBC driver had even been designated to do the job, and will now be assigned to another BBC big-wig.

In rejecting a full-time driver, Lord Patten is following in the footsteps of the former Labour minister Chris Mullin, who turned down his government car.

"Unlike him, I have a Freedom Pass," Patten told me today. "I occasionally use a cab but why would I need a chauffeur?"

A source close to the driver estimates Patten's decision may save the BBC Trust as much as £100,000 a year.


  • Comment number 1.

    Someone looking for a promotion?

  • Comment number 2.

    Reassignment? Is that code for someone losing their job due to the decision ...?

  • Comment number 3.

    And just how many BBC big-wigs are being chauffered around at a cost of 100K a year? Is this where my licence fee money goes? No wonder your programmes are so
    dire much of the time.

  • Comment number 4.

    Good for Mr Patten. But don't leave it there Mr Crick - I would love to see your report on the fatcats of all sorts being driven around at the taxpayer's expense!

  • Comment number 5.


    He will rescue the BBC from whatever dark forces it currently bows to, and direct it to STEP OUTSIDE THE LIE.

    What a different Britain this might be.

  • Comment number 6.

    I agree: why waste good money on an OAP with a free bus pass when we could assign those funds to a thrusting young executive climbing the career ladder.

    Thought: isn't the BBC about broadcasting? So why are they running an exclusive cab firm? Come to think of it, with that infrastructure why aren't they running an exclusive cab firm?

  • Comment number 7.

    Oh for heavens sake. Patten is on the gravy train just like the rest of you Beeboids. This is just a gesture !

  • Comment number 8.

    if i were Chairman of the BBC,dumping a chauffeur would be well down my list of concerns......there are a ton of fundamental root and branch changes to be made to the make-up of the whole corporation to return it to something even approaching a state broadcaster.The narrow leftist political agenda has to!

  • Comment number 9.

    Quite a revelation that Michael, BBC big-wigs getting chauffeurs! So much for the "hard-up" BBC!

  • Comment number 10.


    Quite right. We are paying for the BBC by a compulsory TV tax on pain of imprisonment so we have a right to know what all the higher paid people are paid, including expenses. OK , most of them funnel it through their own companies and trusts to avoid tax, but we should be given that information in the interests of transparency. It is our money they are wasting.
    The whole set-up is like something from the Soviet Union.
    Scrap the TV tax, flog off the BBC. If they are as good as they think they are, they will flourish in the open market. Ha ! Ha !

  • Comment number 11.

    privatise the bBC?

    dear forbid that they would find out the stark cold reality that the minority they represent politically would not even be enough to pay for that indoctrination course all beeboids have to go on

  • Comment number 12.

    Common Purpose

    that's the name I was looking for

  • Comment number 13.

    Good man Chris Patten. If anyone can bring organization and discipline to the BBC Trust it is Chris.
    I remember reading (somewhere) this quotation from Chris Patten: "I don't think that capitalism should be unbridled, if by 'unbridled' you mean unregulated."
    Maybe we should transfer Chris to some large investbank bank and turn him loose or bettr still the central bank.

  • Comment number 14.


    And Fat Pong did such a great job in Hong Kong ! When Cameron appointed Patten to the BBC Trust, it was a green light to the Beeb, indicating Cameron has no intention of dealing with the BBC. Expect the bias to get even worse and the quality to slide even further, all at our expense of course. How depressing.

  • Comment number 15.

    Quite right too, especially since he's only part time. He's not giving up any of his other jobs so why should he be chauffeured around. The only problem with being part time is that he leaves his Birt-speak deputies in charge, so don't expect many changes.

  • Comment number 16.

    Another BBC big wig? Perhaps they mean your Mr Crick? Well you are a big something....

  • Comment number 17.

    michael instead of printing this online perhaps you could have mailed it directly to patten it seems like he is who you wrote this story for, perhaps the story you should have written be about 1) the fact that these people are even entitled to take a chaeuffer driven car at all and why they think its justifiable 2)how much this costs per annum

    the public is threatened with imprisonment to pay for increasingly dire and increasingly biased output yet its justifiable at the bbc to have chaeuffers......

  • Comment number 18.

    Baby you can drive my the Beatles sang it....but in Patten's case he will use the bus pass which is all very well but he's let the cat out of the bag and in doing so he has embarrassed Auntie in that they have divulged that it's a hundred grand a year for chauffeur, where do they get these guys from? Or did Patten know that this would come out, if it is the case it is hardly an auspicious start...

  • Comment number 19.

    I see the Daily Mail and Torygraph literati are out in force.

    To quote your glorious leader, 'calm down, dears!'

  • Comment number 20.

    How can I put this politely ? Patten has been a failure as a politian and Governor of Hong Kong and will be a failure in the BBC Trust. But, he is part of the left-wing establishment, so he will always make lots of money even though he is not the sharpest tool in the box.

  • Comment number 21.

    '19. At 00:01am 8th May 2011, Bass_Man wrote:
    I see the Daily Mail and Torygraph literati'

    If, perhaps, not very often as guest commentators on the BBC.

    Perhaps it's some unique inverse thing to do with ABC ratings?

    One is sure those currently reporting the AV result as a consequence of the majority voting the wrong way can explain.

  • Comment number 22.


    Patten did organise the victorious campaign of 1992 although it was at the expense of his own seat.

    I would be interested in your explanation of how he failed as HK Governor. I do not necessarily disagree, but am keen to understand your reasons.

  • Comment number 23.

    lefties do not get boss jobs in Hong Kong....


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