Sir Jimmy Savile cannot be posthumously stripped of knighthood in the wake of sexual abuse allegations despite hints from Prime Minister David Cameron

 

Jimmy Savile cannot be posthumously stripped of his knighthood, despite David Cameron suggesting he might be.

Earlier today the Prime Minister raised the prospect of the late broadcast star being stripped of the honour in the wake of allegations of sexual abuse against young girls.

However, the Cabinet Office said Savile no longer had a knighthood to revoke, as individuals cease to be a member of the order when they die.

“It’s a living order and then you cease to be a member when you die…there isn’t an honour to revoke,” a spokesman said.

The Prime Minister had stopped short of revealing whether he personally felt Savile should lose his knighthood, but said the case should be considered by a Whitehall committee which has the power to recommend forfeiture.

His comments came after the chairman of the BBC Trust gave his backing to inquiries by police and the corporation.

Lord Patten said the allegations against Savile could not be excused as behaviour from a time when “attitudes were different”.

He told a business dinner in Cardiff last night that it was “no excuse to say 'That was then' in the 1960s, '70s and '80s, and attitudes were different then.

”It's no excuse to say 'I'm sure the same thing used to happen with pop groups and others at the time'. Those things may be true but they don't provide an excuse.“

The radio and TV presenter and charity fundraiser, who died in 2011, has been accused by a growing number of women in the last few weeks of sexual abuse over a number of years.

Mr Cameron told ITV1's Daybreak programme today: ”These stories are deeply, deeply troubling and I hope that every organisation that has responsibilities will have a proper investigation into what happened, and if these things did happen, and how they were allowed to happen, and then of course everyone has to take their responsibilities.“

Asked if Savile should lose his knighthood, Mr Cameron said: ”We have something called a Forfeiture Committee. It is not chaired or sat on by me but it is responsible for looking at honours and the removal of honours, and obviously they have to do their job too.“

BBC Director-General George Entwistle yesterday apologised to victims of Savile's alleged sex abuse and pledged the corporation would hold its own inquiry following a police probe.

Lord Patten echoed Mr Entwistle's announcement and outlined how the BBC would act.

He said: ”Immediately these allegations came out, we went to the police, we agreed with Acpo (the Association of Chief Police Officers) the way we should handle this and they told us the police inquiry should come first and we shouldn't undertake our own investigation until there had been apolice inquiry or we might get in the way of it.

“So there will be a full police inquiry and we will encourage people to co-operate with it and, when that is completed, we will then look at the issues which still remain to be resolved in a way which will have to command credibility in the wider community.

”Because the BBC exists above all on trust and the relationship between the wider public and the BBC itself. And when the BBC is at its best, it's not only because it is providing terrific, creative, challenging TV and radio, it is because the public think they own it and can identify with it. Just think of the Olympics, the torch, the cultural Olympiad - all of those helped bring the community together.“

Mr Entwistle, who started in his new role last month, spoke of deep regret about the ordeals of the women involved in the ”awful allegations“, and said there would be a ”comprehensive examination“ of what went on.

He spoke out a day after Mr Cameron called for the ”truly shocking“ allegations against Savile to be fully investigated.

Last week the BBC said it would work with police in examining the claims and on Friday Mr Entwistle wrote to staff urging them to come forward with information.

Speaking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme yesterday, he said: ”These are awful allegations that have been made, and they are criminal allegations.

“And the first thing I want to say is that the women involved here have gone through something awful, something I deeply regret they should have to go through, and I would like to apologise on behalf of the organisation to each and every one of them for what they've had to endure here.”

Mr Entwistle said any BBC inquiry would take place after police had carried out their investigations.

“When the police have finished everything they have to do, and when they give me an assurance that there is no danger of us in any way compromising or contaminating an investigation, I will take it further and ensure that any outstanding questions are answered properly,” he said.

Any BBC probe, he added, would examine the “broad question of what was going and whether anybody around Jimmy Savile knew what was going on”.

A growing number of women have come forward to claim they were either abused - many of them under-age - or that they saw others who were victims. A number of former colleagues have told how they were aware of rumours about the former Top Of The Pops presenter.

Unease about the claims has led to a number of memorials to the star being removed. Yesterday it was announced that an inscription on the wall at Leeds Civic Hall in recognition of his charity work will be taken down.

A street sign in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, has also been taken away.

Mr Entwistle said Savile was widely regarded as a “bit peculiar”, but he said if anyone had been directly aware of the allegations they should have spoken up.

Mr Entwistle said: “It's very important that people don't think the BBC of today is anything like in character managed the way it was at the time.”

Former Radio 1 DJ Liz Kershaw said at the weekend that when she joined Radio 1 in 1987 - the year Savile left - his behaviour was an “open secret” at the station.

She described how she was routinely groped by another presenter as she was broadcasting.

Broadcaster Janet Street-Porter previously revealed that she was aware of rumours about the television and radio presenter's alleged abuse of under-age girls when she worked at the BBC in the late 1980s.

Police child abuse officers have met BBC officials to discuss the allegations concerning Savile.

Officers said they were contacting all individuals who have made claims about the late presenter and should know how many reported victims there are some time this week.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
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 General

Maths teachers needed for supply work in Ipswich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Maths teachers requir...

Executive Assistant/Events Coordinator - Old Street, London

£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Executive Assistant/Event...

Female PE Teacher

£23760 - £33600 per annum + pre 12 week AWR : Randstad Education Manchester Se...

Secondary supply teachers needed in Peterborough

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: The JobAre you a trai...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering