As it happened: Reaction to Entwistle's resignation

Key points

  • BBC director general George Entwistle has resigned in the wake of the Newsnight north Wales child abuse broadcast
  • The broadcast led to former Conservative treasurer Lord McAlpine being wrongly implicated in abuse
  • BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten, who criticised "shoddy journalism" at Newsnight, says the BBC needs a thorough, structural, radical overhaul
  • Lord Patten says a new director general will be chosen within weeks

Live text


  • Alexis Akwagyiram 
  • Margaret Ryan 

Last updated 11 November 2012


Welcome to our coverage of the continuing reaction to the resignation of BBC director general George Entwistle. He quit last night in the wake of a Newsnight broadcast which led to former senior Tory Lord McAlpine being wrongly implicated in child abuse surrounding north Wales homes.


Mr Entwistle - who was the director general for just two months - gave a statement outside Broadcasting House at 21:00 GMT on Saturday night, explaining he had decided to do the "honourable thing" and step down. Watch a video of his resignation here.


Mr Entwistle had been under pressure to resign in the wake of two controversial decisions by Newsnight:

  • The first, not to broadcast a report exposing claims the late BBC presenter Jimmy Savile sexually abused young girls
  • The second, to screen a film about allegations of historic child sex abuse in north Wales, which although it did not name him led to Tory peer Lord McAlpine being wrongly implicated


George Entwistle

Mr Entwistle said the "wholly exceptional" events of the past few weeks "have led me to conclude that the BBC should appoint a new leader".


On Saturday, Mr Entwistle apologised unreservedly to the former Conservative treasurer Lord McAlpine over the matter, saying the Newsnight film was "unacceptable" and should not have been broadcast. He also suggested disciplinary action could be taken over the matter.

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Stratford Joe

comments on the BBC News website: All other factors aside, at least Entwistle accepted the adage I learnt in the army: You can delegate the authority but not the responsibility. Ministers and civil servants should take note.


Steve Messham

The abuse victim who appeared in Newsnight's film, Steve Messham, also apologised to Lord McAlpine after saying he did not assault him.


Meanwhile, Sir William McAlpine, brother of Lord McAlpine, has in an article in the Mail on Sunday condemned the "damage" done.


Lord McAlpine

Lord McAlpine's solicitor says he will take legal action against those who later named and linked him to the claims - which he described as "wholly false and seriously defamatory".


Ken MacQuarrie, Director BBC Scotland, is due to deliver a report on Sunday into what went wrong over the Newsnight child abuse film - something Mr Entwistle was widely commended for ordering. Mr Entwistle had also suspended or "paused" all Newsnight investigations.