Entertainment & Arts

Lord Patten quizzed by MPs over BBC Trust job

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Media captionLord Patten said he could not put aside 40 years as "an old-fashioned Tory"

Lord Patten would give up the Tory whip but remain a Conservative Party member if confirmed as BBC Trust chairman.

Questioned by culture, media and sport committee MPs, he said he would quit a BP advisory board only if it came to be seen as a conflict of interest.

Lord Patten, the government's preferred candidate for the job, said the BBC had been wrong to pay executives "as if they were at Barclays".

He said he was a big fan of Radio 4 but did not watch EastEnders.

Lord Patten, a former Cabinet minister and chairman of the Conservative party, rejected a suggestion by MPs that he would be seen as "a Conservative party stooge".

"We all have a certain amount of baggage - I'm not ashamed of mine," he said.

He said he could not put aside 40 years as "an old-fashioned Tory" but that he was now "beyond all political ambition" and would try to demonstrate "appropriate impartiality and independence of spirit" if he got the job.

Lord Patten, who strongly defended the quality and impartiality of BBC journalism, said: "I get up to BBC Radio 4 and I go to bed to Radio 4."

He said he listened to Radio 1 "only when trying to get Radio 3 or Radio 4" and that he had watched BBC One programme Masterchef on Wednesday night.

The current Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons announced in September that he would not seek reappointment in May after a four-year term.

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