Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Miliband demands new Savile probe

Labour has called for an independent inquiry into Jimmy Savile's activities at the BBC, Stoke Mandeville Hospital and Broadmoor
Labour has called for an independent inquiry into Jimmy Savile's activities at the BBC, Stoke Mandeville Hospital and Broadmoor

Labour has called for the Government to set up an independent inquiry into the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal to "do right by the victims".

Culture Secretary Maria Miller earlier dismissed demands for an independent inquiry, saying she was "confident" BBC chiefs were taking the claims "very seriously".

But speaking to ITV1's The Agenda, Labour leader Ed Miliband said the BBC's internal investigations were not enough: "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."

Labour wants an independent inquiry to have the power to demand documentation and witnesses. It should look into Savile's activities at the BBC, Stoke Mandeville hospital and Broadmoor, the party said.

"I think we now have enough set of allegations and further allegations to know this is not some isolated set of incidents," Mr Miliband said. "This seems to be a pattern of activity which spanned a number of institutions. As I say, I just think about the victims in this. This is absolutely horrific and will scar people for life. And I think for them, the BBC - good institution though it is - I don't think they can lead their own inquiry."

Ms Miller told the Commons that 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 Miller later denied she was prejudging a BBC inquiry with the use of the word "inappropriately". Aides said that she got her words wrong and had meant to say "allegations that an item on Savile was inappropriately pulled".

A spokesman for the Government said: "Nothing has been ruled out, however, it would be incredibly premature to pre-judge the outcome of the two BBC inquiries and the police investigation."

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