Conservative MP and former BBC staffer Sir Roger Gale has become the first high profile politician to suggest that the BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten and the corporation’s director-general George Entwistle may have to resign.

Gale, a former producer at Radio 4’s Today programme and Children’s TV director in the 1970’s, has said that the pair may have to “fall on their swords” in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal and the furore over the failure of current affairs show Newsnight to air an expose of the presenter’s alleged sexual abuses.

Gale was responding to warnings from Patten that the culture secretary Maria Miller must not question the BBC’s independence in its investigation of the Savile claims.

The MP accused Patten of being “out of touch, not only with the strength of feeling and concern in Parliament about the ‘Savile affair’ and related matters but, more importantly, with the strength of public revulsion at what has happened at Television Centre and with the corporate culture that, for the best part of 40 years, has apparently covered it up”.

Gale added: “It has become clear that successive directors general have, while happy to criticise others for not answering difficult questions, either turned a blind eye to criminal activities or have not known what has been going on on their own doorstep, which is also culpable.

“It is as if your favourite and respectable aunt has been revealed to be on the game and if Lord Patten is not able to grasp that, then I fear that not only the director general but also the chairman of the BBC Trust are going to have to fall on their swords.”