Page last updated at 18:10 GMT, Monday, 15 October 2012 19:10 UK

Savile scandal: Miller rejects call for independent inquiry


Culture Secretary Maria Miller has dismissed calls for an independent inquiry into the Sir Jimmy Savile scandal.

Answering an urgent question on the BBC's response to the scandal on 15 October 2012 tabled by Conservative MP Rob Wilson, Mrs Miller said she was confident the corporation was treating the allegations "very seriously".

It had launched a number of investigations into different aspects of the scandal, she noted.

Police believe Savile may have sexually abused 60 people since 1959.

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman told MPs that Savile's "exulted" status within the corporation allowed him to act with impunity.

She urged the BBC to review its child protection procedures and handling of whistle-blowing cases.

"Everyone has been sickened by the vile abuse perpetrated by Jimmy Savile. It's impossible to overstate the suffering he caused to those he abused.

"What has deepened the revulsion is that this happened at the BBC, an institution so loved and trusted it is known as Auntie.

"This has cast a stain on the BBC."

Mrs Miller said: "These are undoubtedly very serious matters that have wide-ranging implications for a number of public institutions, not just the BBC.

"It is now crucial we understand what went wrong and how it can be put right."

Mr Wilson, the MP for Reading East, said the BBC faced more questions than other public institutions because the abuse took place on their premises while Savile was one of its employees.

He also argued there were worrying concerns about how the BBC had dealt with the scandal since the allegations first came to light.

"Any hint of a cover-up by the BBC of its own role in this dreadful affair will cause huge damage to public and audience trust," he warned.

"I have a number of major concerns that the investigations announced by the BBC will not be sufficiently independent, transparent and robust to give the public confidence."

In reply, Mrs Miller said there was no need for a wider inquiry while the police investigation was going on.

It was crucial detectives were allowed to continue their investigation "unfettered" by other inquiries, she said.


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