Oct 15 2012 By Cheryl Mullin
CULTURE Secretary Maria Miller has dismissed calls for an independent inquiry into the Jimmy Savile scandal – but took a swipe at the BBC for failing to broadcast its own television investigation into allegations against the presenter.
The Cabinet Minister told MPs the corporation had acted “inappropriately” when it pulled a Newsnight film into sex abuse claims against the late DJ and broadcaster but said she was “now confident” BBC chiefs were taking the claims “very seriously”.
Labour Deputy Leader Harriet Harman said there was widespread “revulsion” that the allegations of systemic assaults took place at the beloved “aunty”, the affectionate nickname for the institution, and claimed the the star’s “exalted” status allowed him to act with impunity.
Ms Miller said the allegations had “wide-ranging implications for a number of public institutions” but rejected calls for an outside inquiry to restore the public’s faith, warning it could hamper police investigations.
“In terms of a wider inquiry, we have a police investigation on-going at the moment,” she said. “Everybody would agree that it is really important that those individuals who have been victims know that that investigation can go on unfettered and that that should be our priority at this stage.”
She added: “The BBC has launched three separate investigations, as the House will be aware. The first will look particularly at the allegations with regard to the item on Savile which was inappropriately pulled from Newsnight.”
Ms Harman said: “What has deepened the revulsion is that this happened at the BBC, an institution so loved and trusted it is known as aunty.
“This has cast a stain on the BBC.”