Tories to rein in Thompson's powers

An incoming Conservative government is likely to appoint an executive chairman for the BBC.

The new role will challenge top-level salaries and act as a restraining influence on the director-general Mark Thompson.

The shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt said that Thompson, who earned £834,000, was too dominant within the BBC, and suggested he should face greater internal scrutiny on whether he deserved such a high salary.

Hunt added that the executive board, which is also chaired by Thompson, needs a separate chairman whose role differs from that of Thompson's.

He said that the new chairman would help to reduce the damage done by a series of controversies at the corporation, such as the furore over Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross.

Last week, Thompson announced plans to close down several radio stations and sections of the BBC website.