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Historical Sex Abuse: Broadcasting Sector

Oral Answers to Questions — Culture, Media and Sport – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 3rd March 2016.

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Photo of Philip Hollobone Philip Hollobone Conservative, Kettering 9:30 am, 3rd March 2016

If he will make an assessment of whether further steps need to be taken to investigate allegations of historical sex abuse in the public service broadcasting sector.

Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

The report published by Dame Janet Smith last week was the result of a comprehensive and wide-ranging review. This is clearly a matter for the BBC, which commissioned the review and is responsible for responding, but I know that the chair and director-general take these issues extremely seriously, and I have already had a discussion with the director-general about them.

Photo of Philip Hollobone Philip Hollobone Conservative, Kettering

This four-year, £6 million inquiry confirmed that Jimmy Savile molested 72 victims, that he raped a youngster as young as eight and that attacks occurred in the corridors and dressing-rooms of every BBC premises over a period of 47 years, yet no senior manager, past or present, has accepted individual responsibility for failing to stop him. Does the Secretary of State believe that this is an adequate response from Britain’s leading public service broadcaster?

Photo of John Whittingdale John Whittingdale The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

I hope that my hon. Friend will read in full the statement by the director-general, which makes it clear that the BBC takes this matter very seriously. It has offered a full apology and fully accepts the recommendations of Dame Janet Smith. The important thing is that measures are put in place to ensure that this kind of thing can never happen again. A lot has been done already by the BBC, but I welcome the fact that the BBC has also accepted the recommendation of a further review to be carried out to ensure that everything possible is being done to stop this kind of abuse from ever happening again.