Lord Patten: Entwistle's payoff 'justified and necessary'

Lord Patten wrote to the chairman of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, John Whittingdale, today to say that director general George Entwistle's £450,000 payoff was "justified and necessary".

In agreeing to 12 months' notice rather than six, we had in mind the following points. In the absence of George's honourable offer to resign, I would have had to speak to the Trustees about the option of termination by us (which, fortunately, was not necessary).

In these circumstances, George would have been entitled to 12 months' notice. In circumstances where we needed to conclude matters quickly and required George's ongoing co-operation in a number of very difficult and sensitive matters, including the inquiries into issues associated with (Jimmy) Savile, I concluded that a consensual resignation on these terms was clearly the better route.

I consulted my colleagues on the Trust's remuneration committee and took legal advice. Our conclusion was that a settlement on these terms was justified and necessary.

– Lord Patten, Chairman of the BBC Trust

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BBC pay-off 'hard to justify'

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said former director-General George Entwistle's £450,000 pay-off was "hard to justify", but that it was a matter for the BBC Trust to decide.