Jowell: Perceived role in Dyke firing 'rubbish'

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LONDON -- Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell has waded into the row over the dismissal of former BBC director general Greg Dyke, telling the BBC's flagship morning radio news program that it was "complete and utter rubbish" to suggest she had wanted him fired.

The culture secretary, who called into the news program after it carried an interview with Dyke, conceded that she had "expressed a view" over his role in the Hutton affair but argued that it was up to BBC governors to make up their own view, regardless of what ministers thought.

Jowell went on to refute a claim made in the meeting by former deputy BBC chairman Richard Ryder, who had argued that Dyke was not well liked in government circles and had a "very poor" relationship with the culture secretary.

"What is also rubbish is to suggest that I didn't like Greg Dyke, (or that) I don't like Greg Dyke, and in some way that was material in the (BBC) governors' decision to sack him," she said.

The row blew up following the publication of the minutes of the two BBC Governors' meetings following the publication of the Hutton report into the BBC's coverage of the run-up to the war in Iraq. The BBC was ordered to publish the meeting transcripts by a tribunal earlier this week (HR 1/11).

In an earlier interview with the former director general, Dyke cited the comments made by Ryder as the key reason the BBC governors wanted his head.

"If you read the minutes, Lord Ryder says that I was not particularly liked or respected by the culture secretary. I don't think the job of the director general is to be liked or loved by the culture secretary," Dyke told the Today program on Radio 4 "You shouldn't get rid of the director general because the secretary of state doesn't like him, which is what this document says."
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