UK & World News
Savile: Independent Inquiry Ruled Out
The Culture Secretary has rejected calls for an independent inquiry into allegations of sexual assault involving Jimmy Savile.
Maria Miller was responding to an urgent question in Parliament put by Conservative Rob Wilson.
Mr Wilson, MP for Reading East, said the BBC had "serious questions to answer" concerning its handling of the allegations. He also expressed concern that an investigation by the BBC Trust would not be sufficiently independent.
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."
Ms Miller confirmed there were several parallel investigations and reviews on the matter being undertaken by the BBC Trust.
"The BBC Trust is there to represent the licence fee payer and it is for them to investigate and rectify these matters," she said.
But Labour leader Ed Miliband said later that the BBC's internal investigations were not enough.
Speaking to ITV1's The Agenda, he said: "These are horrific allegations. In order to do right by the victims I don't think the BBC can lead their own inquiry.
"We need a broad look at all the public institutions involved - the BBC, parts of the NHS and Broadmoor. This has got to be independent."
:: Ms Miller was later forced to deny she was prejudging a BBC inquiry into Jimmy Savile, after she inadvertently accused the corporation of "inappropriately" pulling a Newsnight film into sex abuse claims against the late broadcaster.
Aides said that Ms Miller got her words wrong as she made her statement in the Commons.
A printed version of the speech said that one of the BBC reviews would look into "allegations that an item on Savile was inappropriately pulled from Newsnight", but the Secretary of State in fact told MPs it would address "allegations with regards to the item on Savile which was inappropriately pulled from Newsnight".
The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said that Ms Miller had no detailed knowledge of the decision to pull the Newsnight report, which was dropped last year shortly before the broadcast of BBC tributes to Savile.