BBC director general quits over Newsnight report

22:04 10 November 2012

George Entwistle announces his resignation as BBC director general. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

George Entwistle announces his resignation as BBC director general. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

BBC director general George Entwistle tonight quit over the “unacceptable” Newsnight broadcast which wrongly implicated a senior former Conservative in a child abuse scandal.

Earlier Mr Entwistle said the report, which falsely implicated the former senior Tory Lord McAlpine should never have been broadcast.

During an interview with the Radio 4 Today programme he disclosed that he had not known in advance that the report, shown on November 2, was going out.

His disclosure led some MPs to question whether he was the right person to lead the BBC.

In a brief statement outside Broadcasting House this evening, Mr Entwistle said that he had decided to do the “honourable thing” and step down from his post.

He said: “When appointed to the role, with 23 years’ experience as a producer and leader at the BBC, I was confident the trustees had chosen the best candidate for the post, and the right person to tackle the challenges and opportunities ahead.

“However the wholly exceptional events of the past few weeks have led me to conclude that the BBC should appoint a new leader.”

Standing alongside him, the chairman of the BBC Trust, Lord Patten said it was “one of the saddest evenings of my public life”.

“At the heart of the BBC is its role as a trusted global news organisation,” he said.

“As the editor in chief of that news organisation George has very honourably offered us his resignation because of the unacceptable mistakes - the unacceptable shoddy journalism - which has caused us so much controversy.

“He has behaved as editor with huge honour and courage and would that the rest of the world always behaved the same.”

Latest Stories

48 minutes ago
33 Portland Place looks peaceful on the outside, but if these walls could talk... [Photo from Google StreetView]

A swanky 24-bedroom house in the West End that was Britian’s answer to the Playboy mansion is up for sale – because its fraudster owner needs the cash for legal fees.

Read more
07:25
The incident happened between Ann Street and Villas Road on the Glyndon Estate in Plumstead (Pic: Google Street View)

A 19-year-old woman was raped as she made her way home through the Glyndon Estate in Plumstead.

Read more
06:32
A general view of housing near Clapham as London rents now double those in the rest of the UK (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Rents in London are twice as high as those across the rest of the UK for the first time ever, new research has revealed.

Read more

Quirky London

Quizzes

How much do you really know about QPR legends like Les Ferdinand? Picture: Neal Simpson/EMPICS Sport

Test your knowledge of QPR’s greatest players with our fantastic legends quiz.

Read more
How much do you know about films in London? (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)

Do you know your Lock Stock from your Long Good Friday, Sliding Doors from Shakespeare in Love?

Read more
How much about this great city do you really know? Take our true Londoner quiz and find out (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Do you know your apples from your pears? Take our Cockney quiz and see how much of a Londoner you really are.

Read more