Hutton a resigning matter, BBC admits

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Senior BBC executives may be forced to resign over the findings of the Hutton inquiry, a corporation director admitted yesterday.

Caroline Thompson, the BBC's director of policy and legal affairs, said that during the inquiry the corporation had "spectacularly" admitted errors and as a result some staff might lose their jobs.

Ms Thompson said that the Today programme report at the centre of the inquiry failed to maintain the "gold standard" of the BBC in terms of "truth and accuracy".

"The BBC will see what Hutton says and then decide what is the appropriate course of action to take on it. It does not rule them [resignations] in or out," she said. "We rather spectacularly had to accept that we had not got the entire details of the Hutton story, the Gilligan story, right."

Her comments, on BBC Radio 4's PM programme, were in contrast to the stance previously adopted by Greg Dyke, the corporation's director general.

The Hutton inquiry was launched following the death of a government scientist Dr David Kelly inJuly. He had been named as the source of a report that the Government has "sexed up" intelligence information on Iraq.

The BBC's board of governors has been criticised over the way in which it conducted an investigation into the report by the journalist Andrew Gilligan. While Ms Thompson defended the board yesterday, she conceded that the set-up was "out of kilter with modern fashions of regulation".

"The governors behaved very well in balancing out their two roles when we had the Hutton story," she said.

"What they did was they asked the tough questions in private and defended in public - which is what they are required to do in the way they are currently set up."