Patten and Entwistle may have to go over Savile, says Tory MP
Sir Roger Gale, an ex-BBC man, questions Patten's wisdom in picking fight with Culture Secretary
A CONSERVATIVE MP who once worked at the BBC has become the first person to suggest that Director-General George Entwistle and BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten might both have to resign over the Jimmy Savile child abuse scandal.
Sir Roger Gale, a senior Tory MP who is a former producer of the Today programme and director of BBC Children's TV, was intervening in a row between Patten and the Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, The Times reports.
Miller sent a letter to Patten yesterday after MPs had expressed dismay at Entwistle's evidence to the Commons Culture Committee in which he failed to answer key questions about the Savile affair.
Miller wrote that she had "very real concerns" and reminded Patten that it was his role "to ensure public confidence in the BBC".
Patten shot back a testy reply: "I know that you will not want to give any impression that you are questioning the independence of the BBC."
It is this message to which Gale has taken exception.
"Chris Patten is an old friend and a former parliamentary colleague for whom I have had a high regard," Gale said today, "but in his comment he has made it clear that he is out of touch, not only with the strength of feeling and concern in Parliament about the 'Savile affair', but, more importantly, with the strength of public revulsion at what has happened at Television Centre and with the corporate culture that, for the best part of 40 years, has apparently covered it up.
"In seeking to criticise a Culture Secretary who has not ever sought to challenge the independence of the BBC, he indicates how very little, within that corporate arrogance, has really changed.
"It is as if your favourite and respectable aunt has been revealed to be on the game and if Lord Patten is not able to grasp that, then I fear that not only the Director-General but also the Chairman of the BBC Trust are going to have to fall on their swords." ·