Lord Patten to fight for his job as MPs weigh the future of the BBC Trust

 

The BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten is set to fight for his career on Monday amid calls for his resignation if he is found to have misled Parliament and speculation that the Government has decided to scrap the Trust altogether.

At a potentially explosive Public Accounts Committee hearing this afternoon, Mr Patten will be grilled about claims by the BBC’s former Director-General Mark Thompson that BBC Trust witnesses at a previous meeting misrepresented the extent of their knowledge about severance payments of £369m given to 7,500 departing corporation staff.

The former BBC newsreader Selina Scott said she expected the two men would “fight each other like rats in a sack”.

A government source suggested the day’s events could have a significant effect on the future of the BBC. “We’re conscious there’s a bit of business to take place, which is very likely to change some of the parameters of the game,” he said.

The hearing follows a report that ministers were so exasperated by the number of BBC-related scandals that they were considering scrapping the Trust and giving its regulatory powers to Ofcom, which deals with the rest of the broadcasting industry.

“It is clear that the Trust, which is both a cheerleader for the BBC and its regulator, does not work. There are contradictions,” a source at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport told The Sunday Times.

The Culture Secretary Maria Miller may address the state of the corporation in a speech on Wednesday at the Royal Television Society.

The Conservative MP Philip Davies, who was the only member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee to vote against Lord Patten becoming chairman of the BBC Trust, told The Independent: “I’m feeling rather vindicated because he’s been hopeless... You’ve got a part-time chairman of the Trust who has been asleep at the wheel, it seems.” Mr Davies was equally searing about the Trust, saying it had been “a complete flop”.

Labour’s Ben Bradshaw, a former Culture Secretary, said he had called for Ofcom to take over regulatory control of the BBC in 2009, saying the “series of disasters that have befallen the BBC might have been avoided” if it had a better management structure.

Rob Wilson MP said that the Trust’s structure had “manifestly failed in its core duty of promoting the interests of BBC licence fee payers”.

But Mr Wilson questioned whether Ofcom could simply take over the Trust’s role, saying it “faces its own questions about whether it is up to the job of regulating such a powerful institution as the BBC.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Recruitment Genius: 3D CAD Designer - Exhibition Stands

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Rapid growth has seen a number ...

Guru Careers: Graduate Software Developer / Junior Developer

£20 - 28k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Graduate Software Develop...

Recruitment Genius: Delegate Telesales Executive - OTE £21,000 uncapped

£16000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: High quality, dedicated Delegat...

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor