New BBC Boss Entwistle Falls Victim to False Abuse Claims Scandal; Tory Threatens to Sue after Wrongful Allegations on Net

The Mail on Sunday (London, England), November 11, 2012 | Go to article overview

New BBC Boss Entwistle Falls Victim to False Abuse Claims Scandal; Tory Threatens to Sue after Wrongful Allegations on Net


Byline: Mail Reporter

THE BBC was plunged into crisis after flagship news programme Newsnight wrongly implicated a top Tory in a paedophilia scandal.

In a case that echoes the Fr Reynolds fiasco at RTE, staff at the station face disciplinary action and BBC director general George Entwistle was last night reported to have resigned after British Government sources said his position was untenable.

Damningly, even Mr Entwistle's fellow executives had called on him to resign over Newsnight's disastrous attempt to link the former Tory treasurer Lord Alistair McAlpine to a child sex ring.

Mr Entwistle's position crumbled after a grilling on BBC radio yesterday, during which the director general admitted he had not watched the original film and had been oblivious to widespread doubts about its credibility until just before an abject on-air apology broadcast on Friday.

Mr Entwistle's reported resignation, just seven weeks into his tenure, could prompt a bloodbath at the BBC after sources said they believed the positions of several executives were also untenable.

The call for a clear-out of the BBC high command came after Lord McAlpine vowed to sue for libel after the film, broadcast nine days ago, led to him being wrongly named in connection with a child abuse scandal in North Wales in the Thatcher era. Abuse victim Steve Messham said on camera that a senior Tory from that time had been at the centre of a paedophile ring. The individual was not named but it led to false rumours about Lord McAlpine being circulated on the internet. …

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