BBC governors back Birt

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THE BBC's governors last night gave their full backing to John Birt, the Director-General, and apologised for the error of allowing him to be paid as a freelance.

After a four-hour meeting to discuss the dispute over Mr Birt, they unequivocally declared that he should stay in his post. A statement said: 'The board of governors acknowledges the widespread public and staff concern that John Birt was not employed on a staff basis and accepts full responsibility for the errors made and apologises for them.'

Mr Birt's predecessor, Sir Michael Checkland, said last night that Marmaduke Hussey, the chairman of the governors, should step down in the autumn.

Support for Birt, page 13