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BBC boss should act or be "out of a job", says MP Conor Burns
THE director-general of the BBC should be “out of a job” if he cannot act to restore trust in the Corporation, a Bournemouth MP has said.
Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns was recently appointed to the Commons culture and media select committee, which is likely to examine editorial failings at BBC2’s Newsnight.
Director-general George Entwistle has apologised to former cabinet minister Lord McAlpine after Newsnight reported allegations that a senior Conservative of the Thatcher era had abused boys at a North Wales children’s home.
The victim of the abuse has since said he was mistaken and that the abuser in question was not Lord McAlpine.
Mr Burns raised the possibility that Mr Entwistle might not even be director-general by the time he appeared before the select committee. “If there has not been decisive action to restore trust and confidence in the BBC, then Mr Entwistle should be out of a job,” he said.
In interviews on Saturday morning, Mr Entwistle admitted he had not known about the Newsnight report until the following morning, despite the ongoing row about the programme’s decision not to broadcast allegations of child abuse against Sir Jimmy Savile.
Mr Burns said: “My prime concern in the light particularly of his faltering media performances is I’m not very convinced that he can get a grip.”
He added: “We have a position where Newsnight didn’t broadcast allegations that they could stand up against Jimmy Savile and did broadcast allegations that they couldn’t stand up against Alistair McAlpine.
“The director-general should have issued clear instructions that anything to do with child abuse allegations should come to him.
“This is destroying the credibility of the BBC which is part of our offering to the world. That it isn’t at the top of his agenda is very worrying indeed.”
He said he did not want Newsnight axed in the same way Rupert Murdoch had axed the News of the World.
“Newsnight is a very important programme within our democracy, within our politics. It does get to the heart of very substantive things but something has gone fundamentally wrong there,” he said.