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Breaking: BBC’s head of news Helen Boaden ‘steps aside’

PUBLISHED: 10:24 12 November 2012

Helen Boaden

Helen Boaden

Archant

THE BBC’s director of news, Helen Boaden, and her deputy have “stepped aside” pending the outcome of an internal review.

The move by Ms Boaden, who went to school in Ipswich and Colchester, and Steve Mitchell comes after director general George Entwistle quit on Saturday.

Their departures from their posts come ahead of a report into the Newsnight programme which mistakenly implicated Lord McAlpine in a sex abuse scandal which is due to be published today.

It follows the resignation of the BBC director general George Entwistle on Saturday which has left the embattled corporation in crisis, amid calls for BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten to follow suit.

The BBC said it would not comment on any move for Ms Boaden and Mr Mitchell this morning.

Mr Entwistle resigned after a Newsnight report led to a former Tory treasurer being wrongly accused of child abuse.

He had also commissioned two inquiries into an earlier Newsnight decision not to broadcast a report on allegations of abuse by former BBC presenter Jimmy Savile.

Ms Boaden was director of BBC News and Mr Entwistle was director of BBC Vision at the time of the decision not to broadcast the Savile allegations late last year.

One of the inquiries is being headed by former Sky News head Nick Pollard. He will look into why the Newsnight investigation was shelved.

Ms Boaden and Mr Mitchell have been asked to surrender all their responsibilities as head and deputy head of BBC News, pending the results of the Pollard inquiry.

A former Northgate and Colchester County High School for Girls pupil, Ms Boaden grew up in Ipswich.

She returned to the town earlier this year to take part in the 2012 Lecture Series at University Campus Suffolk and welcome prospective students to the new MA Journalism course.

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