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BBC chairman: The Murdoch press will come after me now

By Ian Dunt

The Murdoch-owned press will turn its fire on Chris Patten now the director general of the BBC has stepped down, he said today.

The BBC Trust chairman's comment came as tabloid newspapers revelled in George Entwistle's dramatic resignation last night. The Sun newspaper had the headline: 'Bye Bye Chump.'

Asked on the Andrew Marr programme if there were questions about his own future, Patten said: "It's bound to be under question from Rupert Murdoch’s papers, let's be clear about that.

"We must restore trust in the BBC. If I don't do that I'm sure people will let me know."

Tory MP and media committee member Philip Davies already raised questions about Patten's future.

"He is responsible for the public's trust in the BBC," he said.

"That trust is at an all time low."

Standing next to Entwistle last night as he resigned outside New Broadcasting House, Patten said it was the "undoubtedly one of the saddest evenings of my public life".

He added: "He has behaved as editor with huge honour and courage and would that the rest of the world always behaved the same."

The Entwistle resignation caps a chaotic few days for the BBC after it came out the Jimmy Savile scandal to find itself engulfed in a new row over the vindication of Lord McAlpine, who had been the unnamed subject of a Newsnight investigation into a paedophile ring in north Wales.

"To have been the director general of the BBC even for a short period, and in the most challenging of circumstances, has been a great honour," Entwistle said.

"We must not lose sight of the fact that the BBC is full of people of the greatest talent and the highest integrity."

He added: "In the light of the fact that the director general is also the editor-in-chief and ultimately responsible for all content, and in the light of the unacceptable journalistic standards of the Newsnight film broadcast on Friday 2nd November, I have decided that the honourable thing to do is to step down from the post of director general.

"The wholly exceptional events of the past few weeks have led me to conclude that the BBC should appoint a new leader."

The dramatic resignation made Entwistle the shortest-lived head of the BBC. He took the post on September 17th.

Tim Davie, the current head of the BBC's radio output, will take over as acting director general.

Entwistle's period in the director general's chair was beset by crisis, first over the fallout of the Jimmy Saville revelations, in which Newsnight was attacked for dropping an investigation into the presenter, and then over the Lord McAlpine programme.

Abuse victim Steve Messham apologised for making the claims against McAlpine this weekend, after it emerged the police had wrongly suggested to him he was responsible for the abuse on a north Wales care home in the 1970's and 80's.

All Newsnight investigations have now been put on hold and the BBC has suspended any co-productions with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which had been behind the programme.