UK & World News
BBC Pay-offs Row: MPs To Quiz Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson is to be questioned by a parliamentary committee in the wake of controversy over hefty pay-offs to BBC executives.
The ex-director general, who left the corporation last year to take over at the New York Times, has accused BBC Trust boss Lord Patten and trustee Anthony Fry of "fundamentally misleading" members of a parliamentary committee.
His attack on his former colleagues came in a written statement submitted to the Commons Public Accounts Committee ahead of this afternoon's hearing.
At their last appearance before the committee, Lord Patten and Mr Fry, told MPs members of the Trust were not always included in decision-making.
Mr Fry said there was "some disconnect" between what Mr Thompson had written in a letter to the Trust about deputy director general Mark Byford's pay-off, in which he apparently declared it was within contractual arrangements, when the National Audit Office found it was not.
Mr Byford departed the BBC with a total payout of £949,000.
Mr Thompson's written evidence describes Lord Patten and Mr Fry's committee appearance as containing "important inaccuracies" and being "fundamentally misleading".
He said: "The insinuation that they were kept in the dark by me or anyone else is false."
Lord Patten said he was "looking forward" to coming back before the committee and had "no concerns" about what Mr Thompson has said.
A Trust spokesman described Mr Thompson's evidence as "bizarre" and said the organisation rejected "the suggestion that Lord Patten and Anthony Fry misled the PAC".
Rob Wilson, Conservative MP for Reading East, said anyone shown to have misled Parliament without proper justification should resign immediately or be sacked.
He said: "Thompson's allegations have blown a hole in Lord Patten's argument that the Trust was only responsible for 'strategy' and had no operational involvement in executive payoffs. That in any case is the excuse trotted out by failing boards in many walks of life.
In another development, under-fire HR boss Lucy Adams admitted making a mistake in her evidence to the committee.
Ms Adams, who announced last month she was quitting the BBC, initially told MPs she had not seen a note detailing plans for pay-offs to Mr Byford and marketing boss Sharon Baylay - but now admits she helped write it.
She is due before the committee today alongside Lord Patten, his predecessor Sir Michael Lyons, the former chairman of the BBC Executive Board Remuneration Committee Marcus Agius, Mr Thompson and Mr Fry.
::The hearing begins at 3.15pm. Follow the latest updates with Sky News.