The chairwoman of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee has said she feels “very sorry” for Huw Edwards and his family after the BBC newsreader resigned from the corporation earlier this week.

His resignation “on the basis of medical advice from his doctors” follows allegations that he paid a young person for sexually explicit photos.

Edwards was suspended by the corporation after the allegations came to light, but the Metropolitan Police later said that no criminal offence had taken place.

Speaking about how BBC handled the allegations, Culture, Media and Sport Committee chairwoman Dame Caroline Dinenage told the Voice of the Listener & Viewer (VLV) spring conference on Wednesday: “The BBC are in a really difficult position over things like this because at the point that the allegations were made last summer, it was unclear as to exactly who was making the allegations and exactly what they were.

“It turns out now, of course, that the way Huw Edwards was conducting himself was outside of work time, on his own equipment, and it was a consensual activity with someone who was of age, so actually nothing, as much as it may be distasteful to some, it was nothing illegal happened and he’s entitled to a private life.

“I feel very sorry for him and I feel particularly sorry for his family.

“Whether there’s anything more that the BBC could have done to have changed that, I don’t know.

“But it’s horrible. It feels fundamentally wrong that someone’s whole life has been damaged irreparably by something like that.”

BBC presenter explicit photos allegations
Huw Edward’s resignation from the BBC came ‘on the basis of medical advice from his doctors’ (Ian West/PA)

Edwards had been absent from screens since the story first broke and his wife previously said he was receiving in-patient hospital care and suffering “serious mental health issues”.

The family of the unnamed young person originally complained to the BBC about Edwards in May 2023, and Edwards was publicly named by his wife as the BBC presenter at the centre of the allegations in July.

He was the BBC’s highest-paid newsreader, with a pay bracket of £435,000-£439,999 in the year 2022/2023, according to the corporation’s most recent annual report.

During his career with the broadcaster, Edwards became a fixture for their coverage of major political and royal events including announcing Queen Elizabeth II’s death on the BBC and presented coverage of her funeral as well as anchoring the BBC’s broadcast of the King’s coronation last year.

Dame Caroline was also asked what the committee would do to hold the Government to account on not interfering on key appointments.

It comes after Nadine Dorries alleged in her recent book that BBC board member Sir Robbie Gibb, a former press secretary for Theresa May, lobbied her when she was in the post of culture secretary to appoint Lord Gilbert to the role of head of Ofcom.

It was also previously reported that Sir Robbie “lectured” Newsnight staff on how to be more impartial.

Dame Caroline said: “There’s obviously been a lot of discussion … and a lot of concern around this in recent years.”

The chairwoman said she was “concerned” over the appointment of the Ofcom chair as she said the process went on for a “really long time” and “it did feel like there was some sort of political interference going on there”.

She added: “We know that people have political viewpoints. I don’t have a problem with Robbie Gibb being on the board of the BBC, I don’t have a problem with that, and he says he’d never tried to interfere with Newsnight, so different reports of what happened.

“But I just feel that everybody needs to do their very best in a world where people are just so concerned about whether there is political aspects to these organisations.

“We have to go above and beyond to try and demonstrate that they are as independent as possible.”

On Monday, media watchdog Ofcom also warned broadcasters who use politicians as presenters that “the highest level of due impartiality applies during election periods” and breaches could result in “statutory sanctions”.

Asked her thoughts on Ofcom’s warning, Dame Caroline admitted she had not gone through the report yet in “any detail” but feels the recommends made in an additional report, which looked at audience attitudes towards politicians presenting programmes, were “very sensible suggestions”.

She read a number of the suggestions in the report, which included “telling audiences that a politician is presenting and disclosing their party, making it clearer who counts as a politician, preventing politicians from interviewing members of their own party and ensuring politicians present alternative points of view robustly and respectfully”.