The Culture Secretary, Maria Miller, has warned the BBC that its handling of the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal has raised "very real concerns" about public trust in the Corporation.
In a letter to the chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten, Ms Miller said it was of "paramount importance" that the public have confidence in the Corporation's inquiries into the Savile affair, adding that these inquiries should be able to follow the evidence "wherever it takes them".
She wrote: "In all our conversations we have talked about the paramount importance of full public trust in the BBC's inquiries and agreed that it is essential that licence fee payers can be assured that they are being conducted thoroughly and with the full co-operation of the BBC."
Lord Patten responded with a thinly veiled warning that the Government should not wade into the row. "I know that you will not want to give any impression that you are questioning the independence of the BBC," he wrote. "You know how seriously the Trust takes the allegations surrounding Jimmy Savile and the need to maintain public trust in the BBC."
He said the inquiries would be "comprehensive and independent", adding: "You have recognised both the credibility and the scope of those who are leading the inquiries and the wide scope of their terms of reference."
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