MPs have called for the BBC to act quickly to restore the public’s trust in the organisation despite opinion polls suggesting that the public trust MPs less than the distance they are able to throw them.
John Whittingdale, Tory chairman of the commons culture committee, whose expenses claims include £1,828 for bathroom fittings, £1,800 for a replacement boiler and £774 for a sofa and rug from Laura Ashley, said that the public’s confidence in the organisation has been “dented”.
The Conservative MP for Maldon, who also claimed £1,014 for a bed for his flat in Westminster despite it being less than 60 miles away from his constituency, went on to insist that the public would be “surprised” at the decision to pay a year’s salary to Mr Entwistle.
Harriet Harman, who proposed a rule change to exempt MPs’ expenses from the Freedom of Information Act, insisted that the payout given to Mr Entwistle is “unjustifiable” and is “not the correct way to restore public confidence”.
The deputy leader of the Labour Party, who, amongst other things, bought an old-fashioned tartan shopping trolley and a digital camera using her Parliamentary allowances, said: “It looks like a reward for failure.”
BBC ‘trust’ issues
Newspapers have also gone out of their way to criticise the BBC in the wake of the Newsnight scandal.
“He had to go!” screamed a Sun editorial referring to a man who had never hacked a dead schoolgirl’s phone.
“Who is regulating the tawdry BBC when it smears the innocent,” asked the newspaper that claimed Liverpool fans picked the pockets of crushed victims and urinated on members of the emergency services during the Hillsborough disaster.
The public have been less than impressed with the reaction of MPs and the press.
“MPs giving lectures on trust is a bit like David Mellor describing someone as a weirdo,” said one TV license payer.
“I’ll make my own mind up on who to trust rather than be told what to think by fraudsters and a news organisation that hacked the phone of a murdered teenager.”
“Seriously, right now it feels like we’re getting a morality lecture from Hannibal Lecter.”