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Swindon MP says people 'rightly frustrated' with way crisis handled by BBC
THE BBC's director of news, Helen Boaden, and her deputy, Stephen Mitchell, have stepped aside as a result of a botched Newsnight report which contributed to the resignation of director-general George Entwistle.
Their moves came as a report into the Newsnight programme which mistakenly implicated Lord McAlpine in a sex abuse scandal was produced.
The BBC's head of newsgathering, Fran Unsworth, and Ceri Thomas, the editor of the Radio 4 Today programme, are to fill in for Ms Boaden and Mr Mitchell temporarily.
The changes - which also include a change in the "chain of command" dealing with all BBC output - were announced in response to the report into Newsnight by Ken MacQuarrie, the director of BBC Scotland.
It comes in the wake of the resignation of Mr Entwistle on Saturday, which has left the embattled corporation in crisis, amid calls for BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten to follow suit.
The response to the report has been one of the first issues to be tackled by acting director-general Tim Davie as he prepares to rebuild trust in the corporation.
An inquiry is already under way into the decision-making process behind a dropped Newsnight report last year which would have examined sexual abuse allegations against Jimmy Savile.
It is being led by former Sky News boss Nick Pollard.
The BBC said Ms Boaden ‘has decided that she is not in a position to undertake’ her responsibility as director of news ‘until the Pollard review has concluded’.
Tory MP Philip Davies, a member of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, called for Lord Patten to step down as BBC Trust chairman.
Asked for his reaction to the decision to pay Mr Entwistle a year's salary, he said: "I think it is absolutely astonishing, it is unacceptable, it is unjustifiable and it is an affront to licence fee-payers."
Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson said: “People are rightly frustrated about the way the BBC has handled the crisis and has been slow to respond.
“And now the £450,000 pay-off (to former director-general George Entwhistle), which potentially could be up to £1.3m with the pension pot, is an insult.
“What further frustrates people is that if it had been any other newspaper or television channel they could simply switch off and they would lose subscribers or advertising, and it would then have to put its house in order, but with the BBC it will just be business as usual as we have to continue to pay our licence fee.
“People rightly feel disenfranchised from the out-of-touch BBC.”