Trapped and cornered, the BBC lashes out

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Ready for a fight? Patten's response was decidedly threatening.
Ready for a fight? Patten's response was decidedly threatening.

The BBC fired a warning salvo over the bows of the government last night, after the media secretary pressed the initiative in the wake of George Entwistle's appearance in parliament.

The unconvincing performance by the director-general prompted Maria Miller to write to BBC Trust chairman Chris Patten urging him to take a more hand-on role in the scandal because "very real concerns are being raised about public trust and confidence in the BBC".

The peer replied in an unmistakeably threatening tone, saying: "I know that you will not want to give any impression that you are questioning the independence of the BBC."

The comment suggests the BBC is starting to get some of its confidence back after being on the backfoot for several weeks over the Jimmy Savile row.


It also indicates a determination in the corporation to not allow the government to interfere too strongly in its response.

David Cameron has thus far been moderately supportive of the corporation, saying he had confidence in the twin internal inquiries launched by Entwistle. Ed Miliband, on the other hand, urged the government to take the matter out of the BBC's hands and set up an independent inquiry.

Meanwhile, it emerged today the director of public prosecutions is going to review a 2009 police investigation into Savile.

David Cameron told MPs during PMQs Keir Starmer will investigate why the Crown Prposecution Service (CPS) took the decision not to prosecute over sexual abuse allegations.

The scandal crept across the Atlantic yesterday, when former director-general Mark Thompson found it was hindering his new job as chief executive of the New York Times.

Thompson, who is due to take the post nest month, was the subject of a blog by the newspaper's ombudsman, which questioned his suitability for the role.

Margaret Sullivan, the newspaper's public editor, demanded further details of Thompson's involvement in the scandal.

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