Independent Jimmy Savile investigation ruled out
Monday 15 October 2012
Culture Secretary Maria Miller today dismissed calls for an independent inquiry into the Jimmy Savile scandal but took a swipe at the BBC for failing to broadcast its own television investigation into allegations against the presenter.
The Cabinet Minister told MPs the corporation had acted "inappropriately" when it pulled a Newsnight film into sex abuse claims against the late DJ and broadcaster but said she was "now confident" BBC chiefs were taking the claims "very seriously".
Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman said there was widespread "revulsion" that the allegations of systemic assaults took place at the beloved "aunty", the affectionate nickname for the institution, and claimed the the star's "exalted" status allowed him to act with impunity.
Ms Miller said the allegations had "wide-ranging implications for a number of public institutions" but rejected calls for an outside inquiry to restore the public's faith, warning it could hamper police investigations.
"In terms of a wider inquiry, we have a police investigation on-going at the moment," she said. "Everybody would agree that it is really important that those individuals who have been victims know that that investigation can go on unfettered and that that should be our priority at this stage."
She added: "The BBC has launched three separate investigations, as the House will be aware. The first will look particularly at the allegations with regard to the item on Savile which was inappropriately pulled from Newsnight."
Ms Harman said: "What has deepened the revulsion is that this happened at the BBC, an institution so loved and trusted it is known as aunty.
"This has cast a stain on the BBC."
Commons culture committee chairman John Whittingdale said the Director-General George Entwistle had offered to appear before the committee next week and said he was "sure" MPs would take him up on the offer.
Leeds North East Fabian Hamilton said his constituents, who turned out in their thousands to pay tribute to the present when he died, felt "betrayed and angry".
Police believe the DJ and television presenter's alleged catalogue of child sex abuse could have spanned six decades and included around 60 victims.
Mr Entwistle announced last Friday that two inquiries would be launched into the abuse claims. One will look into whether there were any failings over the handling of the abandoned Newsnight piece. A second independent inquiry will look into the "culture and practices of the BBC during the years Jimmy Savile worked here", Mr Entwistle said.
Conservative MP Rob Wilson, who secured the urgent question in the Commons, said the BBC had been "slow to react" to the scandal and accused its Trust of acting as a "cheerleader and defender".
"I have a number of major concerns that the inquiries by the BBC will not be sufficiently independent, transparent and robust to give the public confidence," he said.
Any hint of a cover-up by the BBC of its own role in this dreadful affair will cause huge damage to public and audience trust."
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 2 Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence results live: Reunited kingdom - Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum
Scottish referendum results: David Cameron set to unveil major devolution of powers to England
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence: YouGov final prediction puts No campaign 8 points ahead - but Yes team remains optimistic
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Teacher looking fo...
Negotiable: Randstad Education Leicester: Are you a Newly Qualified Teacher lo...
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Part Time Primary TeacherOur...
£7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Cheshire: The Job:School Science Technici...