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Rob Wilson, a Conservative Party lawmaker who has challenged Thompson’s explanation, said the former BBC chief had not yet given a “definitive” account of his knowledge about the Savile allegations.

“Now it appears legal threats were issued using his name against a newspaper over claims that he hadn’t bothered to read, let alone investigate, but which turned out to be true,” Wilson.

The Metropolitan Police on Thursday arrested a man in his 60s in connection with the wide-ranging Savile investigation. A police statement said some 450 alleged victims have now come forward.

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Associated Press writers Paisley Dodds and Jill Lawless contributed to this report.