As it happened: BBC crisis after boss George Entwistle quits

Key Points

  • Culture secretary says BBC should co-operate with any "value for money" inquiry into departing boss George Entwistle's pay-off.
  • Acting BBC director general Tim Davie insists he has a "grip" of the situation and says row must not overshadow child abuse investigations
  • Head of news Helen Boaden and her deputy Stephen Mitchell "step aside" while investigations into Jimmy Savile affair continue

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    Welcome to our coverage of the continuing controversy surrounding the BBC following the resignation of director general George Entwistle


    The future leadership of the BBC is uncertain after George Entwistle resigned following the row over a Newsnight investigation into chaild abuse in north Wales


    It emerged last night that the BBC Trust has agreed to pay Mr Entwistle £450,000 - a year's salary - as part of the terms of his resignation. He was only in the job for 54 days

    0831: Breaking News
    Helen Boaden

    It's understood director of news Helen Boaden and her deputy Steve Mitchell have "stepped aside."


    Following the announcement that Helen Boaden and her deputy were "stepping aside" The BBC said director of communications Paul Mylrea says the BBC was not commenting, but there would be an announcement mid to late morning.


    Just to give you some background on what is happening - Mr Entwistle resigned after a Newsnight report led to a former Tory treasurer, Lord McAlpine, being wrongly accused of child abuse.


    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 that 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

    Abuse victim Steve Messham withdrew his accusation against Lord McAlpine a week later, saying he had been mistaken. And the BBC issued an unreserved apology for the broadcast.

    Steve Mitchell

    Here is a picture of BBC deputy head of news, Steve Mitchell, who is one of the managers who has "stepped aside".

    0843: Breaking News

    More breaking news for you: The BBC have asked Fran Unsworth, head of Newsgathering, and Ceri Thomas, editor of the Today Programme to fill the respective roles of Helen Boaden and Steve Mitchell, for the time being,

    Lord Patten

    On Sunday, BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten criticised "shoddy journalism" at Newsnight, and told Andrew Marr that there needed to be a thorough, structural, radical overhaul at the BBC.


    Business editor Robert Peston says Tim Davie, the acting director general, has decided it is best for senior news executives Helen Boaden and Steve Mitchell to step aside. He is trying to stabilise things at the BBC, says our correspondent.

    Robert Peston Business editor

    I believe Helen Boaden and Steve Mitchell do not agree with the decision to step aside. There is a view that in an attempt to look decisive and taking action to stabilise BBC News, Lord Patten and Tim Davie are punishing individuals who may well turn out to be clear of any responsibility for what has happened.


    Lord Patten has said a new director general will be chosen within weeks.


    Before his departure, Mr Entwistle commissioned a report from BBC Scotland director Ken MacQuarrie into what happened with the Newsnight investigation. He was expected to report to the BBC on Sunday.

    0850: Robert Peston Business editor

    Mr Davie and Lord Patten are understood to believe that Ms Boaden's and Mr Mitchell's decision to withdraw from all decision-making on the way the BBC reports the Jimmy Savile scandal has created confusion at BBC News about who is in charge. Here's the blog in full.

    0849: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    BBC's chief political correspondent Norman Smith tweets: Labour to press for Commons statement on #bbc crisis


    Today's announcement that the director of news and her deputy are stepping aside is unexpected, according to BBC News correspondent Nick Higham. The BBC says the move is pending the outcome of an internal review. You can read more about why it has happened here.


    Fran Unsworth is head of newsgathering, which means she is responsible for the correspondents and camera crews who go out and cover news. Ceri Thomas is the editor of one of the BBC's flagship news programmes, the Today programme, and is "extraordinarily experienced," the BBC's Nick Higham says.

    0901: Nick Higham BBC News

    I don't think they could have done any better in the short term than pick Fran Unsworth and Ceri Thomas to take control of BBC News.

    0901: Former BBC News Channel controller Kevin Bakhurst,

    tweets: 'Stepped aside' is strange meaningless euphemism to most people #bbc #Newsnight

    0900: Robert Peston Business editor

    Business editor Robert Peston on Twitter: Will the decision to force Boaden & Mitchell to stand down at BBC News bring stability or more chaos?


    More on the controversies which led to George Entwistle's departure. The second was its decision to broadcast a north Wales child abuse film which led to accusations being made against Lord McAlpine. The earlier controversy was Newsnight's decision not to air a report in 2011 into claims the late BBC DJ Jimmy Savile abused young people. Read our backgrounder here.


    The BBC has set up three inquiries or reviews over the Savile claims.

    • One, led by ex-Sky News boss Nick Pollard, is examining whether there were BBC management failings surrounding Newsnight's Savile programme not being broadcast in 2011
    • Another inquiry, led by former Appeal Court judge Dame Janet Smith, has begun into the culture and practices at the BBC in the era of alleged sexual abuse by Savile
    • A third review is to examine sexual harassment policies at the BBC
    0904: Labour MP Chris Bryant,

    tweets: Interesting watching Tory mps trying to micro manage the BBC. Big mistake. Important to maintain its independence.

    Jimmy Savile

    Police have launched an investigation, operation Yewtree, into the Savile claims - they have described him as a predatory sex offender.


    Acting Director General Tim Davie is greeted by a bank of photographers as he arrives for work on Monday morning at the BBC's new Broadcasting House headquarters.

    Tim Davie

    Media commentator Steve Hewlett says that if it emerges that Helen Boaden and Steve Mitchell have taken the blame for what has happened on the most recent Newsnight story, it would be "grossly unfair" because as far as he knows, they had nothing to do with this programme.

    0908: Stephen Jardine,

    tweets: Interesting to hear David Dimbleby on BBCR4today choosing to speak now about the crisis. He went for the DG job before, could he again ?


    Helen Boaden was director of BBC News at the time of the decision not to broadcast the Jimmy Savile allegations late last year. After news of the shelved Newsnight report emerged in October this year, Ms Boaden "recused" herself from making decisions about related stories. You can read our profile of Helen here.


    David Dimbleby is now trending on Twitter in the UK


    Conservative MP Philip Davies, a member of the Media, Culture and Sport parliamentary select committee, has called on Lord Patten to resign. "They really need to get their act together quickly and I think the only way that's going to be achieved is by getting some people external to the BBC to take over," he said.

    0914: Breaking News

    We have just heard from Ken MacQuarrie, director of BBC Scotland, who has reported his findings on the Newsnight broadcast on 2 November 2012. The key actions announced are that a single chain of command is being established to deal with all output, and that consideration is now being given to see whether further disciplinary action will be taken.

    0910: Carole Walker Political correspondent, BBC News

    Political correspondent Carole Walker is reporting a "great deal of concern" over the payout to former Director General George Entwistle. She says many MPs are questioning why he's got this payout of £450,000. She added that Labour are pressing for an urgent question in the Commons on Monday from culture secretary Maria Miller. It will be up to the Speaker of the house to decide whether this takes place.


    Former culture secretary, ex-BBC reporter and Labour MP Ben Bradshaw, speaking on the BBC News Channel, says he wants to find out whether any political pressure was put on the BBC Trust by the government to "get rid" of George Entwistle.

    0917: Richy Smith,

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay 2 more stepping aside due to plummeting confidence. What % of my licence fee will be used to pay them off? #bbc #fb


    In more detail now, the BBC press office has announced these actions:

    • To address the lack of clarity around the editorial chain of command, a decision has been taken to re-establish a single management to deal with all output, Savile related or otherwise
    • Helen Boaden has decided that she is not in a position to undertake this responsibility until the Pollard review has concluded. During this period Fran Unsworth will act as Director of News. In line with this decision, Ceri Thomas will act on a temporary basis as Deputy Director in place of Stephen Mitchell.

    Further actions announced by the BBC:

    • To address the pressure on the Newsnight team Karen O'Connor has agreed to take on the role of Acting Editor of Newsnight.
    • Consideration is now being given to the extent to which individuals should be asked to account further for their actions and if appropriate, disciplinary action will be taken.
    Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets: More heads to roll ? BBC say"consideration being given to extent individuals shd be asked to account for their actions" #bbc


    Stephen Mitchell was the deputy director of BBC News, assisting director Helen Boaden, when claims of sexual assault against Jimmy Savile came to light. He was directly responsible for the BBC's news programmes, including flagship TV current affairs show Newsnight when it dropped its planned programme on Savile in late 2011. Read more about him here.


    #BBC is now trending on Twitter in the UK

    0926: Rob,

    texts: Ludicrous listening to you lot trying to undermine your own organisation. Get back to reporting real news and let the BBC sort out its problems without a wall to wall running commentary.

    0926: Clare Eagleton, in Birmingham,

    texts: It is strange how our country can be in economic crisis and cope but the BBC in crisis makes me feel worried. We rely on it so much and I'm a huge fan. I'm sure it will all be sorted out soon come on BBC we need you.


    Neither Ms Boaden nor Mr Mitchell was in the decision-making chain that led to Newsnight's broadcast about child abuse in north Wales in November - specifically at the Bryn Estyn home near Wrexham.

    0927: Allan Wood,

    texts: 12 months salary payoff is obscene - but why was a six months payoff in the contract anyway? If you resign then you resign!

    0929: Sue,

    tweets: if your not part of the solution, then your part of the problem!! time to go #Patten #BBC isnt the problem-those steering the ship are!

    0931: Richard Hart-Jackson,

    tweets: #BBC would the last person to leave Broadcasting House please turn off the lights!

    peter rippon

    Newsnight editor Peter Rippon also "stepped aside" in October pending Nick Pollard's Review, after he was criticised for his decision not to broadcast the report into the Savile abuse claims. His blog explaining why he had taken the decision was found to contain inaccuracies - which led to further scrutiny of the BBC's handling of the matter. The BBC apologised for the inaccuracies.


    Interviewed on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, Lord Patten said he'd resist calls for his own resignation because his job was to restore confidence and trust in the BBC.


    Martin Campbell, chairman of the Broadcast Journalism Training Council, says a journalism student would learn all the things Newsnight had appeared to forget within the first couple of days. "You have to ask why Newsnight forgot the golden rules. It needs to behave a little bit less like a boys' club, chasing ratings, and concentrate on being a public service broadcaster".

    0939: Torin Douglas Media correspondent

    Lord Patten's task has been made harder by the BBC Trust's decision to pay George Entwistle a full year's salary after just 54 days in the job - twice his entitlement under his contract. It gives ammunition to those already gunning for the BBC Trust chairman and has also been criticised by senior MPs, who had earlier supported his moves to "get a grip" on the corporation.


    Tory MP for Peterborough, Stewart Jackson, tweets: Perhaps it's time Lord Patten fell on his sword too as BBC Trust Chairman. Who has faith in such a dilatory and insouciant figure?

    0941: Joss, in Milton Keynes,

    emails: Entwistle should get his payment - after all, he is a victim of the Lynch Mob that is MPs and competing media. MPs are grandstanding and should shut up.

    John Whittingdale

    There's been a lot of political reaction to news of Mr Entwistle's payment. John Whittingdale, Tory chairman of the commons culture committee says he wants to know why the BBC Trust thinks the £450,000 payout is "appropriate". He says: "A lot of people would be very surprised that somebody who was in the job for such a short period of time and then had to leave in these circumstances should be walking away with £450,000 of licence fee-payers' money."

    0946: Carole Walker Political correspondent

    Given the scale of the crisis it is likely that a Commons question on the BBC row will be granted by the Speaker and it will be interesting to see what tone we will hear. It is difficult for the government which has made it clear it does not want to be seen to be interfering in the independence of the BBC. The prime minister also believes it is important the BBC recovers and is seen to be a strong independent voice.

    0946: Donald Jeynes, in Worcester,

    emails: If we the BBC licence payer can afford to make this massive pay out to the director general and then start paying a new director general's wages we the licence payer are being ripped off. The BBC have been very reckless and should remember it's licence payer's money.


    This is how the BBC Trust explained the Entwistle payoff in a statement: "The BBC reached a consensual termination agreement with George Entwistle [on Saturday] and agreed to pay him 12 months pay, in lieu of notice. This reflects the fact that he will continue to help on BBC business, most specifically the two ongoing inquiries."


    But Mr Whittingdale has responded, saying: "I wouldn't have thought that just because you have to help any inquiry into the Savile allegations you necessarily need to be paid such a large amount of money."

    0948: Michael Savage Times political correspondent

    tweets: There will be calls for an Urgent Statement on the BBC crisis today - expect Labour to start fighting for the protection of the institution.

    0949: Ken Spare, in Clyro, Powys

    emails: Its a crying shame the once universally respected BBC has been reduced to its present circumstances. George Entwistle was appointed by Lord Patten as a supposed safe pair of hands. Unfortunately he was never up to the job. His mauling by both the select committee and John Humphrys made that abundantly clear. The corporation now needs an overhaul starting with a DG from outside.

    0950: Felicity Horsfield, in Peterborough,

    emails: If I resigned that far into a job I would expect to be shown the door without any payment. I think its dreadful to pay someone a year's salary after 54 days in a job.

    0952: BBC journalist Alexander Dunlop

    tweets: Good use of BBC iPlayer today would be to listen again to David Dimbleby on #r4today about BBC crisis. Great ambassador for the Corporation.

    harriet harman

    Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman says Mr Entwistle's payout is "not justifiable" and has said he should not accept the full sum. She says: "It is not justifiable for the BBC to pay double the contractually required sum to the director general on his resignation. It looks like a reward for failure."


    #r4today is trending on Twitter in the UK following on from David Dimbleby, BBC commentator and a presenter of current affairs and political programmes, telling Today presenter John Humphrys: "I can't understand why the director general of the BBC resigned." Listen here.


    BBC presenter David Dimbleby defended BBC staff earlier, saying: "I have never found anywhere, a place which has more dedicated, hard working, committed people who don't do it for the money, who work all hours for the love and belief of public service broadcasting. And I think that's what been betrayed or is being betrayed by the management."

    0955: Stewart Purvis Ex-ITV ceo and journalism professor

    tweets:The BBC management board member who knew of Newsnight's plan will not be a media household name but today will be a tough one for them


    Mr Entwistle's tenure in the BBC's top job was short, but eventful. If you haven't seen it yet, check out our gallery of images from his 54 days as the corporation's director general. And if you're not clear on what happened when, look at our timeline of events that led to his resignation.

    1001: Former BBC presenter Mike Smith

    tweets: BBC News now have a live helicopter up at £1500 an hour. Filming the BBC. #bizarre


    Charities are warning that victims of child abuse may suffer owing to the crisis faced by the BBC. Pete Saunders, from the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, says the scandal has had some positive effects as more victims have been able to come forward to speak about their past. See him speak here.

    0959: Glenn Harvey in London

    tweets: Is the crisis at the #BBC something to do with the fact that so many good journalists have been made redundant? #Newsnight


    Coming up - the new acting director general of the BBC, Tim Davie, is due to set out his plans later this morning for rebuilding trust in the corporation in the wake of the botched Newsnight child abuse investigation and Savile controversy. We're hoping he'll address big questions, including the search for a new director general are under, and Mr Entwistle's £450k payoff.

    1003: Luke, in Doha, Qatar,

    emails: The BBC was trashed for not broadcasting the Savile programme because it wasn't backed up by police reports, then for broadcasting the children's home story which included information (later shown to be false) that appears to have been supplied to a victim by the police; even so, the BBC mentioned no names. The failure to protect children and the damage to the reputations of innocent people lay with the police.


    Another statement from the BBC press office: "The BBC wants to make it absolutely clear that neither Helen Boaden nor Stephen Mitchell had anything at all to do with the failed Newsnight investigation into Lord McAlpine. Whilst recognising this, the BBC also believes there is a lack of clarity in the lines of command and control in BBC News as a result of some of those caught up in the Pollard Review being unable to exercise their normal authority."


    They go on: "In the circumstances Helen and Stephen will be stepping aside from their normal roles until the Pollard Review reports and they expect to then return to their positions. There will be a public statement later today dealing with the finding of Ken MacQuarrie's investigation."

    1003: Breaking News

    BBC says neither head of news Helen Boaden nor her deputy Stephen Mitchell - who have "stepped aside" - had anything to do with the failed Newsnight investigation which falsely implicated Lord McAlpine.


    The crisis at the BBC is attracting comment around the world. A commentator in Israel's liberal Ha'aretz daily says he thinks George Entwistle's resignation "will not end the acute crisis at the BBC". "How could an organisation with strict journalistic standards like the BBC have failed so colossally" in broadcasting the erroneous Newsnight film? - Anshel Pfeffer wonders in the article.

    Tim Loughton

    Former children's minister Tim Loughton MP says the media focus on the BBC leadership crisis and George Entwistle's resignation is "deeply frustrating" and that "we really mustn't forget that this is about child abuse". He says: "This is about vulnerable children and young people, going back many decades, who have been subject to pretty horrific abuse."


    He adds: "I fear the publicity around the witch-hunt of celebrities and high-level figures is detracting from the real purpose - which is to root out child abuse that has gone on in the past, bring the perpetrators to book, give the victims some closure and make sure that it's not happening in 2012."


    Daily Telegraph media editor Neil Midgley says Lord Patten and Tim Davie need to "get a grip" of the situation and the "fudge" of the news heads stepping aside "just won't wash". He says of the two managers: "Back them or sack them. The idea they can go on a period of extended paid leave, given everything that's happened, perhaps not with their direct editorial involvement but on their watch, and then come back and run the news department as if nothing has happened is implausible."


    Who is in the running for Mr Entwistle's old job? "A number of high-profile candidates could be in line to become the BBC's next director-general - unless they think the corporation's top job has become too much of a poisoned chalice," reports the Independent today.

    Adrian Van Klaveren

    More details have emerged about the decision making process behind the Newsnight investigation into care-home abuse. The controller of Five Live Adrian Van Klaveren was in overall charge of the investigation, and he reported to a member of the BBC's management board, the BBC Northern Ireland controller Peter Johnston.

    1022: Will Gompertz Arts editor

    tweets:The BBC is not nearly as complex as people are making out, nor is leadership, which is ultimately about one thing: judgement.

    1024: Tim, in Hampshire,

    emails: Come on guys. So someone made a mistake and had a lapse of judgement. The entire world/country/licence fee payers are not interested in you all picking over the bones of this for days or weeks to come. For all of our sakes- please get over it and go back to doing your day jobs. Don't turn an embarrassment into a prolonged crisis.

    1025: Breaking News

    Email to BBC staff from acting director general Tim Davie says he's "determined to give the BBC the clarity and leadership it deserves in the next few weeks" and as part of that, he promises "there will be no handbrake turn".


    Tim Davie assures staff that they can "expect to see management pulling together as one team, focused on tackling the problems the BBC currently faces head on". He adds: "I also expect you to continue to make the programmes and services that our audiences love and that make the BBC unique."

    1028: Stuart Boyce,

    on the BBC Facebook page comments: If they want to restore public faith then they should abolish licence fee.

    1031: Isobel Phillips,

    on the BBC Facebook page comments: He wasn't even fired, he resigned - so he should be paying them a year's salary for not giving notice!

    1033: Daren Martin,

    on the BBC Facebook page comments: He was obviously asked to resign. We don't hear about this sort of thing when MPs "resign"!


    To find out all the latest about the crisis surrounding the BBC have a look at our special report which pulls together all the latest backgrounders, Q&As, features and analysis.

    1036: Breaking News

    Downing Street says the Prime Minister believes the 12-month payoff for outgoing director general George Entwistle is "hard to justify".

    Downing Street

    Downing St sources say the prime minister believes it was a matter for Mr Entwistle's conscience as to whether he expected the £450,000 payoff. Mr Cameron is expected to answer questions on the crisis at BBC at a "Cameron Direct" event later today. No 10 this morning reiterated its "hands off approach" to the crisis, insisting it was a matter for the BBC to resolve.

    1042: Gary @ Fiveway Films,

    tweets: Now that major changes will have to occur at the BBC, isn't it about time they started using commercials and drop licence? @BBC_HaveYourSay

    1042: The Telegraph's Janet Daley

    blogs about how the BBC has covered the crisis it finds itself in, saying: "One after another, the BBC's faithful retainers - many of them departed (but still devoted) BBC staff - were called upon to defend this "wonderful" institution, this irreplaceable national treasure, blah-blah-blah."


    Apart from George Entwistle's payoff, the future of Newsnight may also be in the balance. BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten warned on Sunday there may be some "tough managerial decisions" ahead.

    1046: Clare Revell,

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay if i resigned i wouldn't get a years salary. Would be paid for what i'd done to date. Why does the DG get a pay off?

    1050: Luke, in Belfast,

    emails: Awful the way the focus has been shifted completely away from the actual crimes of Jimmy Savile and on to the scape goat of the BBC, who while not having acted with the utmost diligence, is not responsible for the crimes that he committed. A shameful shying away from the facts.

    1052: Jademarisa,

    tweets: #BBC Can't help feeling that Tories eager to dismantle the public sector have found a goldmine to justify attacks against a profitable BBC


    Professor Steve Barnett from the University of Westminster says there is a lot of "bad noise" in the reporting about the BBC from people who do not wish it well, as it has enemies in Fleet Street and among its competitors. He says the BBC Trust's role is to represent licence fee payers, "and at some point it needs to stand up and say, 'you must not interfere, let us do our job'." He adds that for the prime minister to speak out over the payout to George Entwistle is "unhelpful".

    1055: Martyn Gait, in Magor, Wales,

    emails: I totally agree with the PM that "it's hard to justify" just the same as how I feel now that it's hard to justify me paying my license fee.

    1055: Robert Hartshorne, in Reading,

    emails: Get a grip! Does the BBC really think that the entire country is suffering angst and sleepless nights about the current situation in which it (the BBC) finds itself. I think not and I bet I am not alone. Quite frankly, there are slightly bigger issues in the world at present than the hand-wringing going on in Broadcasting House. Sort it out, then let us know the results in due course.

    Mark Thompson. File photo

    Across the Atlantic, former BBC director general Mark Thompson is due to start his new job as chief executive and president of the New York Times newspaper. He faces questions over the decision to shelve the Newsnight film into the Savile abuse claims because he was in charge when it was dropped.


    BBC Radio Five Live presenter Anita Anand tweets: "Beeb story is climbing the running order on bulletins in Delhi, Karachi and now Moscow too.. The child abuse story is nowhere to be seen."


    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.

    1100: Kevin Maguire Daily Mirror associate editor

    tweets: Politicians who were going to stay out of the BBC row are piling in (Cameron, Harman etc). Next they'll be picking the D-G

    1102: Former BBC News Channel controller, Kevin Bakhurst,

    tweets: BBC needs its big figures to stand up+say: give Patten and Davie time now. Reports will be acted on.Don't give ammunition to BBC's enemies.

    1106: Caitlin Moran Writer

    tweets: This man [Savile] conned society from the top to the bottom. Landing it all on two mistakes by one programme with the vastness of the BBC is insane

    1109: Lloyd, in Dorset,

    emails: I wonder if the victim of the false allegation hadn't been a powerful figure connected to high level government whether such senior staff of the BBC would have had to resign, along with a threat to 'radical structurally overhaul' from the Chairman - who hasn't resigned?! It was a shockingly poor piece of journalism - but it's a programme often working in difficult and grey areas. Newsnight's been going since the 80s, broadcasting every week - that's a lot of good journalism.

    1110: Breaking News

    Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport Maria Miller says Mr Entwistle's payoff is "a large amount of money and tough to justify" considering the circumstances of his departure.

    Maria Miller

    Maria Miller adds that the Trust must justify the payoff. "It is accountable to licence fee payers in ensuring value for money, and we expect it to have considered that carefully.


    Just a bit more background for you about the latest Newsnight controversy. The film on child abuse in north Wales was made in collaboration with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, whose managing editor Iain Overton tweeted ahead of the broadcast that the BBC was going to air allegations about a senior political figure.


    "The BBC is a global British institution, and above all else it is vital that it focuses on restoring its credibility," Maria Miller says. "The Trust needs to act swiftly to ensure that the management and leadership issues in the Corporation are resolved."


    Mr Overton's now infamous tweet said: "If all goes well, we've got a Newsnight out tonight about a very senior political figure who is a paedophile."


    Mr Overton's tweet came amid the furore already surrounding Newsnight after it shelved its Savile report. His comments drew huge attention and were re-tweeted hundreds of times. Later Prime Minister David Cameron warned against a witch-hunt which he said was emerging on the internet to identify who the alleged child abuser might be.

    Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets: Maria Miller expected to raise Entwistle pay out with Lord Patten when speak later today #bbc

    1119: Peter Power, in Hampshire,

    emails: The BBC apparently believe that becoming for the time being, part of the news rather than just reporting it, justifies total saturation of their own DG resigning story on all news broadcasts, website and just every other channel. Can we get some perspective on this please and stop BBC navel gazing dominating everything. The world still rotates, irrespective of what the BBC does or does not do.

    1117: Matt Prodger Home affairs correspondent

    tweets: "Just asked by BBC security guard to "step aside" after I got stuck in revolving doors. This has gone too far."

    1124: Graeme Garden Author, actor

    tweets: Very proud to hear that 'I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue' is to be adopted as the BBC's new motto.


    Phil Harding, a former head of editorial policy at the BBC, said the corporation needs a period of stability and clarity at the top. "What's important is that editors and correspondents know who's in charge and - if there's a problem - who to ask. It was getting very confusing - if it's a Savile matter ask person B but if it's a normal editorial matter I'll ask person A. That's no clear editorial chain of command," he says.

    1126: Simon Knowles, in Thatcham,

    emails: Saying Helen Boaden and Stephen Mitchell had nothing to do with the defamatory Newsnight edition does not wash. Newsnight is part of her portfolio for which she has editorial responsibiliy. She is even more culpable than the ex-DG for allowing such a shoddy piece of journalsim to be broadcast.

    1127: Former children's TV presenter Susan Stranks, in Brighton,

    emails: Over recent years the BBC has spread its news services far too thinly and recent cuts have failed to concentrate minds. Scarce funds are wasted on redesigned logos and fancy studio sets. It would be helpful if all the politicians, journalists and other public servants wasting news-hours chewing over the latest scandals could stop pontificating and get back to work.

    1131: Iain Overton Bureau of Investigative Journalism

    tweets: I am going to be making a statement after I meet with my Trust.

    Karen O'Connor

    Karen O'Connor has stepped up as acting Newsnight editor - she's a former editor of Newsnight and Panorama.

    1132: Andrew, in London,

    emails: To me the BBC and everything it stands for means 'quality'. Excellent quality in terms of production values and presentation. There have been errors that should be investigated, but they shouldn't be used by certain envious quarters of the media (or the BBC itself come to that) to batter the BBC into becoming a poorer quality or more commercial institution.

    Rob Wilson

    Conservative MP Rob Wilson says the payout has not helped the BBC in the eyes of the public. "It looks rather out of touch in these times of austerity to be paying somebody double what they're contractually obliged to. They really need to start thinking as licence fee payers are thinking, rather than telling license fee payers what to think," he says.

    1135: Bill Christopher, in West Kirby, Wirral,

    emails: This is a failure of the leadership structure in the BBC not one person in the DG role. The responsibility for the lack of structure is Chris Patten's. He has been in post for 18 months and allowed the management bureaucracy to proliferate ensuring that effective communication became impossible. Cut the hierarchy and devolve responsibility and accountability.

    1143: Kevin Hall, Stoke-on-Trent,

    emails: Newsnight was damned for not acting on unsubstantiated Savile gossip yet is being slain for basing a story on a name given to the victim by police. Let's not lose focus on the real issue which is the freedom of investigative journalists to do their jobs and let us not forget that Newsnight did not name McAlpine.


    Iain Overton has resigned from his job as the managing editor of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. He's releasing a statement shortly.

    1143: Mark Simpson BBC Ireland Correspondent

    tweets: At the UK Society of Editors conference in Belfast, one delegate muttered: "The BBC now stands for Be Bloody Careful."

    1145: Breaking News Iain Overton Bureau of Investigative Journalism

    tweets: Iain Overton has resigned as editor of the Bureau. A statement will be issued shortly.


    The Independent's media editor Ian Burrell writes that as news heads 'step aside', it is inconceivable that further BBC heads will not roll.

    1147: Warren, in Newbury, Berkshire,

    emails: I am a great supporter of the BBC and it's programming but I'm finding it harder to maintain this respect especially when you see poorly conceived and excessive exit strategy pay offs being managed with licence payers money.


    Mr Overton had claimed on Twitter that Newsnight would name a senior politician in its broadcast into child abuse in north Wales. A Twitter storm of accusations followed and, although Newsnight did not name Tory peer Lord McAlpine, the broadcast and internet allegations led to him being incorrectly identified as a culprit.

    1201: Breaking News

    The Bureau of Investigative Journalism confirms Iain Overton's resignation, saying any role by it or its officers in the Newsnight McAlpine story was "strictly contrary to the fundamental principles and standards of the Bureau".


    Just a quick recap for you on today's events:

    • The BBC is under fire after it emerged George Entwistle will be paid £450,000 as he resigned as director general
    • No 10 says Prime Minister David Cameron thinks it is "hard to justify" the payoff but he is taking a "hands off" approach to the matter
    • BBC director of news Helen Boaden and her deputy Stephen Mitchell are "stepping aside" pending a review
    1203: Darren Stephens,

    tweets: PM finds DG's payoff "hard to justify". As hard as the £4m Rebekah Brooks got and you barely mentioned, Dave? @BBC_HaveYourSay

    1204: Andrew Crawley,

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Let's not throw the baby out with bathwater only a small number of people at BBC under spotlight. Rest are excellent.

    1204: Shane Reynolds,

    tweets: @bbc_haveyoursay BBC needs maintain focus on investigative journalism and sort out problems internally then report. Focus on external news.


    Acting director general Tim Davie is live on the News Channel right now.

    1205: Cherry,

    texts: Why do the media always want people to resign or be sacked? I for one would like to know why it happened in the first place was it just to taint the Tories as the ITV fiasco was meant to embarrass the PM?

    1206: Martin Brittain, in Yorkshire,

    texts: £450,000 payout is obscene and proves the BBC does not value the licence fee at all. Why should I be compelled by law to give the BBC cash which it then gives away? Sadly its time for TV licences to be abolished.

    1207: Breaking News

    Acting director general Tim Davie says "we've had an honourable man leave the BBC" - talking about George Entwistle. He says his own job is to get a "grip" of what is happening and isn't confirming any disciplinary action yet.


    Tim Davie says George Entwistle's payoff is not his decision but is a matter for the Trust.


    Tim Davie: "We shouldn't let events take over what are serious allegations against Sir Jimmy Savile which is the bigger issue."

    1217: Kay Tucker,

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay 450k payout to the DG of the BBC for a job of only 54 days duration shows how out of touch the trustees are with the public

    1217: Kimberley Rowley,

    tweets: #BBC scandal is awful but they must realise that cuts at the beeb have negatively impacted on the quality of their news and current affairs.


    Here are a few points from Tim Davie's interview:

    • The acting director general of the BBC insists he has a "grip" of the situation
    • He says George Entwistle's £450,000 pay-off is the Trust's decision - not his
    • Mr Davie stresses it is vital not to allow events to overshadow the serious matter of child abuse allegations
    tim Davie
    1224: Paul Gribben BBC News

    At Broadcasting House: Just day one in the new job and Tim Davie is facing the full glare of the international media, all of them demanding answers to incredibly complex questions. Not just him either - anyone wearing a BBC ID badge approaching New Broadcasting House in the drizzling rain is seized on and interrogated: "What's morale like in there?", and that old journalistic standby "How do you feel about what is going on?" Inside the BBC HQ, Mr Davie is talking to the cameras about "getting a grip". Outside and looking in, the assembled reporters are still waiting to find out how he is going to go about this.

    1224: Richard Bryant-Jefferies, in Epsom,

    emails: Reactive management is not good management. The BBC simply needs to redefine its core business and objectives. It's lost its news credibility for many reasons, it is very avoidant in reporting many issues worldwide. BBC needs to maybe separate its news function more clearly from other areas and regain it's credibility with honest, unbiased reporting.

    1227: BBC Daily Politics

    tweets:That upset a number of of us, we were very angry about that" says @Conor_BurnsMP on Newsnight 'politically-motivated' sex abuse claims

    1227: Richard Holland, in Lyme Regis, Dorset,

    emails: When this government came in, a very tough licence fee arrangement was imposed, which had little or nothing to do with cutting the country's deficit. This has led to cuts in all sorts of areas in the BBC, including at Newsnight. Surely such cuts and loss of high-quality journalists will have an effect on output. What was the motivation behind freezing the licence fee? The effect is that Sky now gets considerably more revenue than the BBC.


    The National Union of Journalists says the broader backdrop to the problems at the BBC is "the remorseless cost cutting across the corporation". In a statement, its general secretary Michelle Stanistreet calls for a moratorium on cuts.

    1233: Richard Honey, in Leeds,

    emails: How are Helen Boaden and Stephen Mitchell responsible for the Newsnight edition when they had both specifically been reclused from any involvement in the story? This "if you are head of something when things go wrong you must resign" trend, whatever your actual responsibility, is deeply worrying and we are in danger of sweeping real issues under the carpet. The reaction to these stories is a chance to bash the beeb.

    1234: Breaking News

    Labour given permission to ask urgent Commons question on George Entwistle's pay-out - this will take place at 15:30 GMT.

    Lord PAtten

    BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten has written a letter to John Whittingdale MP, chair of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee - who has been criticising George Entwistle's £450,000 pay-out. He writes that "a settlement on these terms was justified and necessary".

    1241: Keith Kettlewell, in Bristol

    emails: So the BBC slipped up. It happens, for goodness sake. Now can you all calm down and stop being hysterical over this rare mistake and get back to work


    Here is Lord Patten's full letter:

    "In agreeing to 12 months' notice rather than six, we had in mind the following points. In the absence of George's honourable offer to resign, I would have had to speak to the Trustees about the option of termination by us (which, fortunately, was not necessary). In these circumstances, George would have been entitled to 12 months' notice."


    Lord Patten's letter continues:

    "In circumstances where we needed to conclude matters quickly and required George's ongoing co-operation in a number of very difficult and sensitive matters, including the Inquiries into issues associated with Savile, I concluded that a consensual resignation on these terms was clearly the better route."


    The last passage of Lord Patten's letter reads:

    "I consulted my colleagues on the Trust's Remuneration committee and took legal advice. Our conclusion was that a settlement on these terms was justified and necessary. The alternative was long drawn-out discussions and continuing uncertainty at a time when the BBC needs all of its focus to be on resolving fundamental issues of trust in BBC journalism."


    Professor Brian Cathcart from Kingston University, director of Hacked Off which lobbies for higher standards in the media, says the BBC is good at investigating its actions. "We need to know what the facts are and then we need to know how the corporation will respond and learn the lessons, and change, and ensure these mistakes don't happen again." he says.

    1247: Mick, in Durham

    emails: Perhaps the new DG should show the public who pay his wages through licence fees some respect by wearing a tie!


    Watch Tim Davie giving his first full interview since being made acting director general of the BBC at a time when the corporation is in the midst of a serious crisis of trust.

    Helen Boaden and Steve Mitchell Helen Boaden and Steve Mitchell are senior news executives

    Mr Davie says he's set up a "clear line of command" in news as the director and deputy director of news are asked to "step aside" pending an internal review into the way claims about Jimmy Savile were handled. Read our full story here.

    1251: Thomas Featherstone , in Brighton

    emails: As a young person I have only recently grasped the magnitude of the BBC and the many great things that it gives us. For those who say we should abolish the licence fee, think about the ramifications of this decision. The BBC would have to resort to commercial advertising like every other broadcaster which would ultimately have an effect on the quality of programming we would receive.

    1252: Ebeneezer Chapple, in Exeter, Devon

    emails: The next DG needs to be someone the licence payer knows and trusts, not some unknown media management nerd. I suggest David Dimbleby would be an excellent choice.

    1254: David Connett, in Witney, Oxfordshire

    emails: Great, first priority is to stop being the news, get back to reporting what is going on in the world. Despite the greatness of the BBC, we don't all want your dirty washing shoved in our faces on every conceivable news programme. There is more happening in the world

    1255: Alan Reynolds, in Yorkshire

    tweets: @bbc_haveyoursay Media circus resembles vultures circling a carcass. There's a lot that's great about the BBC. Don't throw the baby out etc

    Radio 4

    Click here to catch Radio 4's World at One programme at 13:00 GMT. Presenter Edward Stourton has been speaking to acting director general Tim Davie about how he'll try to rebuild trust in the coporation. He'll also speak live to Labour MP John Mann who serves on the Treasury Select Committee.

    1303: Simon Ash, in London

    tweets: the licence fee is still the best money I spend all year #BBC

    1304: Neil Bryan, in Cotteneham, UK

    emails: I propose John Humphrys as the next DG. He knows what do do as demonstrated on Saturday's edition of Today.

    1306: Dominic Smith, in Aylesbury, UK

    emails: Whatever comes of this, please do not stop the licence fee. It's a dark hour for the BBC yet no one can deny that they produce some of the finest television in the world. Take away the fee and it'll all change for the worst. Deal with this culture and management problem swiftly and move on, as we're all pretty sick of it now.

    1308: Diane Abbott MP

    tweets: My view is that despite the current problems and the current media coverage, the BBC remains one of the finest broadcasters in the world

    1311: Graeme Donaldson, in Edinburgh

    emails: It so happened that yesterday was both difficult for the BBC yet exemplified how good and important it is. Commercial breaks during the Remembrance Sunday service, anyone...?


    Tim Davie told BBC Radio 4's the World at One he had decided that while the Pollard Inquiry was running it was better the head of news Helen Boaden and her deputy Steven Mitchell were not in charge of news. "We have had quite a lot of complexity in news management and we need a simple chain of command up to me," he said. "They are employees of the BBC but they are not currently in their roles."


    Mr Davie says he will "be judged by my actions" and needs a strong team around him. Now he has addressed structural issues, he will look into individual failings.

    "It's right to take a little time working through the detail and working out if there are any disciplinary issues to address. I am not going to be forced into a knee-jerk reaction," he says.


    Mr Davie says he hopes to talk to Lord McAlpine personally to apologise for the Newsnight broadcast.


    Mr Davie says it is important that the internal BBC matters are addressed so the focus can resume on the allegations of child abuse and how the victims can be helped.

    1328: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets: BBC Trust met George Entwistle in afternoon following disastrous Today intv and "expressed serious concerns" #bbc

    1331: Former BBC employee Helena Taylor, in Birmingham

    emails: Having listened to Today both on Saturday and today and watched the news coverage, David Dimbleby's words this morning were brilliant, so sensible and from someone who understands and has insight into how the BBC used to be run and should be run again.

    I speak as an ex-employee who, for the most part, loved my career with the organisation, but saw the changes and they were not always for the better. David Dimbleby would make a brilliant DG, he would restore faith in the BBC - please consider him if he would be willing to take on the job.


    So who is currently in charge of BBC News? Here's a profile of Fran Unsworth whose career began on local radio before she became head of newsgathering in 2005.


    Labour backbencher John Mann joins calls for Lord Patten to resign. "If there is a role for someone paid the large amount that he is paid, with all the other trustees, it is precisely in crises like this and he has failed to deliver," he told BBC Radio 4's World At One.


    Heading into his first day in his new job at the New York Times, former director general Mark Thompson is asked about his old role. He says he is "very saddened by events" but he believes the BBC is the "world's greatest broadcaster" and has "no doubt it will regain the public's trust".

    1346: Steven Crellin, in Salford

    emails: It has long been reported that the number of managers within the BBC borders on the ridiculous for a large, modern corporation. The management-heavy structure will surely receive a long-overdue redesign following this crisis.

    1352: Andy Locke, in Southend

    tweets: Maybe the BBC could follow in HIGNFY footsteps and have a Guest DG every week? #HIGNFY #BBC #justsaying


    Professor Chris Roebuck from the Cass Business School says the matter of Mr Entwistle leaving with a payout is what would be expected in the commercial sector.


    "A major organisation where a number of problems have come up, the board needs to move things forward and it needs to do so with the co-operation of the previous incumbent," says Prof Roebuck. "It's absolutely standard practice to achieve those objectives".

    1401: Philip Stratford, in Liverpool

    tweets: By all means report what's happening at the BBC, but lose the word 'crisis' and keep it in perspective!

    1405: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets: Acting DG Tim Davie says BBC bosses Helen Boaden and Steve Mitchell who have 'stepped aside' - "expect to return to their positions" #bbc

    1405: Joshua Godfrey

    tweets: Come on people we must stand up for the #bbc. It's the best and most admired broadcaster in the world.

    1405: Peter, in Milton Keynes

    emails: Professor Chris Roebuck makes an interesting point although he assumes that the commercial sector would be as transparent in dealing with the matter as the BBC - something which I doubt.

    1407: Carl Boniface, in Watford

    emails: So Labour are going to ask a Commons question about the pay-out to the outgoing DG? Who do they expect to answer? No one involved in the decision (or indeed who has standing to furnish a reply) is a member of the Government. As with newspaper phone-hacking, the glee of certain politicians smacks of revenge for the exposure of their expenses gravy train.


    Journalists' union the NUJ demands a moratorium on journalism job cuts at the BBC, saying the corporation should "halt the assault on frontline journalism and put in place measures to shore up news and current affairs before it is too late".


    Former Newsnight editor Sian Kevill tells the BBC News channel: "The most important thing for the BBC now, regardless of the personalities involved, is that there is no other mistake made in BBC News output for the foreseeable future. That is the most overriding need."


    What is the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and what was its involvement in the Newsnight broadcast into child abuse allegations in north Wales? Find out here.


    Ms Kevill, former Newsnight editor, says there needs to be "a sense of renewal in news". Questions - including what is BBC News' purpose within the corporation - need to be asked, she says.


    "And possibly, maybe controversially, even whether there is some reinvestment in news just to make sure that programmes are properly resourced to do the sort of proper journalism for which the BBC is so well known around the world," she adds.

    1428: A BBC News viewer

    texts: Mr Entwistle has been a convenient scapegoat, why shouldn't he be given a pay-out? He's ended his career so that a bigger entity can try and save face.

    1430: Alastair Wilson in Peterborough

    emails: It's sad to see the BBC's news operation implode gently in this way. Time to get back to basics and re-establish the BBC's traditional values. Nation shall speak peace unto nation but based on truth, integrity and hard-graft journalism, not tabloid-esque preoccupation with personality.

    1433: Alex Main

    tweets: @BBC_HaveYourSay Rather a great deal of focus on this. Lets not get distracted from the allegations of abuse.


    Conservative MP Damian Collins has called for a quick decision on the new director general to minimise the "inevitable leadership vacuum". He also criticised the £450,000 payout to George Entwistle, saying the former director general had been "paid effectively £10,000 a day for having done a job he failed at".

    1437: Scot Stewart , in Aberdeen‏

    tweets: @BBC_haveyoursay I definitely think my licence fee is money well spent and am happy to continue paying it #IdontworkfortheBBChonest

    1439: Helen Mary Jones Plaid Cymru chair

    tweets: Real risk the #bbc mess up takes attention from the real #childabuse story. Survivors MUST be heard and lessons learned @youthcymru


    New York Times "public editor" Margaret Sullivan, who oversees editorial standards at the paper, has previously questioned whether Mark Thompson was the right man for the job, given that he was in charge of the BBC when the Newsnight Jimmy Savile investigation was pulled. On Friday, Mr Thompson said: "I believe that it will not, in any way, affect my job... as chief executive of the New York Times company."


    Chris Bryant MP has called for one overall inquiry looking into the child abuse scandal and subsequent BBC row rather than nine separate investigations. Read the full story here.


    The Washington Post reports that Mr Entwistle's position "arguably became untenable following a ferocious grilling" by BBC presenter John Humphrys, "sometimes called the "Rottweiler of radio news". It recalls former cabinet minister David Mellor's comment that Mr Entwistle came across as "so out of touch, it made me think Winnie the Pooh would have been more effective".

    1517: Martin in Keighley in West Yorkshire

    emails: I am sat here with a bill for £70 for my TV licence, I have seven days to pay or the bill will get passed onto a debt collection agency! My gas and electricity has just gone onto emergency for the second time in seven days. Can you even begin to understand why I might be angry at this £450,000 pay-off?


    More international reaction coming in. Mary Gearin on Australian broadcaster ABC says: "If George Entwistle thought his resignation would stem the flow of criticism of the BBC, there's been no sign of that yet. Instead there have been calls for others to follow his lead."


    "Bad news pour la Beeb," reports Le Monde in France on the Corporation's woes.

    1530: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets: I understand BBC bosses Helen Boaden and Steve Mitchell will not go "without a fight" if not re-instated after Pollard review #bbc


    Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman has asked an urgent question on the BBC row in the House of Commons.


    "After George Entwistle's exit, David Dimbleby wasn't the only broadcaster talking about finding the right 'man' for the job. But the solution to a crisis is not always another bloke at the top," writes The Guardian's Jane Martinson.

    1536: Breaking News

    Culture Secretary Maria Miller says in the Commons of the BBC boss's pay-off: "The circumstances of his [Mr Entwistle's] departure make it hard to justify the level of severance that has been agreed."


    Maria Miller says the BBC Trust has "clear responsibilities" to be transparent with public funds, suggesting the National Audit Office may review the payout to the outgoing director general George Entwistle.


    Maria Miller: "There are now in place proceedures to scrutinise the BBC's decisions in terms of delivering value for money - proceedures strenghtened by this governement. The National Audit Office is empowered to conduct a value for money review of any issue. If they decide to review this decision, I expect the BBC would cooperate fully."


    Labour's Harriet Harman says it is important that the BBC does not become cowed and retreat into risk avoidance, adding it is a loved institution but has enemies "waiting to pounce". "The BBC has made grave mistakes and it must sort them out. But everyone, including us politicians must keep cool heads and allow that to happen."

    1545: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets: "Let the BBC get on with putting its House in order" says Culture Secretary Maria Miller #bbc

    maria miller

    Culture Secretary Maria Miller says she "expects the BBC would cooperate fully" with any value for money review by the National Audit Office on George Entwistle's payout.


    Mrs Harman says politicians "should not trespass on the BBC's independence". She adds: Just as we don't want politicians interfering with what newspapers write, neither that should happen with the BBC."

    dennis skinner

    Labour's Dennis Skinner asks: "When Lord Patten talked about the retirement of George Entwistle, he went on to say that he acted with honour, with bravery, with courage. What kind of bravery and courage does it take to leave office with a million quid?"

    1601: Sam Macrory, political editor of The House Magazine

    tweets: Not a word of support for George Entwistle from MPs.All talk of finding 'right person' to be DG. Incredibly quick reputation nose-dive #bbc

    1609: Trevor Lincoln in Harrogate

    emails: I understand why the DG chose to resign after listening to his interview on the Today programme. Mr Patten assures us he wasn't pushed… so why any pay-out at all?

    1609: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    The National Audit Office has told the BBC it will be talking to the BBC Trust about a possible inquiry into George Entwistle's payout.

    1612: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    It is clear this is far from over and it was striking in the Commons that I didn't hear one word of defence for the payout. Instead you have even committed supporters of the BBC calling the situation unacceptable.

    1625: David in Cambridge

    emails: If BBC News is to claw back its credibility then it must lead with the Abu Qatada story tonight. Serious errors have been made and the processes will be fixed, but the BBC must not lose sight of other major news stories - especially one this important.


    In the Commons, Labour MP David Lammy said it had been a dark time for the BBC but encouraged the culture secretary to consider the positive contribution of the BBC. "Will she recognise that last week they covered the American elections - there was a range of programming across television and radio of an incredible standard and this should not be used as a tool to undermine the basis of a public broadcaster?" he said.

    1643: Rob Watson UK political correspondent, BBC world affairs unit

    In a clear signal the government doesn't want to interfere, the culture minister Maria Miller said what the BBC now needed was a period of stability to put its house in order - stressing it was a job only the BBC itself could do.


    The prime minister's spokesman tells reporters Mr Cameron's position remains that the Entwistle pay-off was hard to justify, but says Lord Patten "should get on with the job of sorting out the BBC's difficulties".


    The PM's spokesman also says the culture secretary raised the payoff at Cabinet, where she said the same as she has said publicly - that it was tough to justify and it was up to the BBC Trust to do so.

    Tony in Birmingham

    emails: The pay-out is out of order. In any normal job you get six months' probation. If you are not up to the job, you are got rid of with one month's severance pay if you're lucky. Why should this guy be any different?

    1713: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    Maria Miller appeared to be paving the way for a National Audit Office investigation into the payout and the BBC Trust's policy when it comes to severance payments. As there are already five inquiries going on at the BBC, I imagine the very last thing Lord Patten wants is an investigation by them.

    1715: Breaking News BBC's Norman Smith

    I surmise there will now be massive pressure for Entwistle to forgo some of his severance deal; otherwise the BBC could be facing a very difficult and very awkward inquiry.

    Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    There is a groundswell of opinion, particularly on the Conservative backbenches, questioning the position of Lord Patten and the way he has handled the whole crisis. This is because questions are being asked over who appointed George Entwistle in the first place and they are pointing the finger of blame at Lord Patten. At the moment he is shielded by the view in government that if he was forced to walk the plank the BBC would be left in complete and utter disarray.

    Krishnan Guru-Murthy Channel Four News

    tweets: Seems odd after yesterday's glowing tribute that Patten should now suggest he was going to sack George Entwistle if he hadn't quit

    1728: Wendy in Belfast

    texts: The whole reaction is now hysterical. Entwistle's pay-out is not excessive - give the man a break. Talk about ending Newsnight is totally ridiculous. They should all just get on with the job and calm down.

    1730: Fergal Keane BBC foreign correspondent

    tweets Off on the road to do what everybody else in the newsroom is doing: getting on with the job. No tweets for a while.


    That's it for today's live coverage of the crisis at the BBC. For further updates see our story here.


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