Conservative peer asked to reduce business activities before joining the BBC

The request comes as Lord Patten prepares to take up a position as BBC Chairman.

Lord Chris Patten has faced calls from Labour to cut back on his business interests and leave the Conservative party before his new role as the BBC Chairman is ratified.

Patten already holds paid posts on the advisory boards of oil company BP and energy firm EDF, as well as being the chancellor of Oxford.

His predecessor Sir Michael Lyons ended his membership of the Labour party when he joined the BBC, and Labour members fear if Patten doesn't halt his links with the Conservatives, he could serve as a political and ideological placeman.

Links between Patten and Prime Minister David Cameron have been speculated on, and Labour MPs are expected to question him further in a Commons culture, media & sport select committee meeting tomorrow morning.