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Lord Patten preferred as BBC Trust chair

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BBC Television Centre flags
The government has today confirmed Lord Chris Patten as its "preferred candidate" to replace Sir Michael Lyons as the next chairman of the BBC Trust.

Prime Minister David Cameron approved Patten's appointment this week, and the former governor of Hong Kong will now move forward to a pre-appointment hearing at the Commons Culture, Media and Sport committee on March 10.

The committee's conclusion will be "carefully considered" by the culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, but the panel does not have the power to block Patten's appointment.

Barring any late hold-ups, the appointment will be signed off by the Queen under the terms of the BBC's Royal Charter agreement.

Patten - the chancellor of Oxford University - is expected to officially take up the BBC chairmanship next month. Lyons is due to officially step down from the post at the end of April.

He would take up the £110,000, four days a week post just as the BBC is facing up to major cuts across its operation in response to its new licence fee settlement agreed with the government.

Hunt is thought to view Patten as the right candidate to keep the BBC's management in check, and picked him over Sir Richard Lambert, the former director general of the CBI and editor of the Financial Times.

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