Great Britain

BBC clears itself of cover up in rehiring of Martin Bashir after he lied and deceived to get Princess Diana interview


THE BBC has cleared itself today of a cover up when it re-hired Martin Bashir after he lied to get his infamous interview with Princess Diana.

A damning inquiry last month revealed “rogue reporter” Bashir forged bank statements to win the vulnerable princess’s trust in 1995.

A review published today found there was "no evidence" that Bashir was rehired by the BBC to cover up the circumstances of his interview with Diana.

Bashir was hired as Religious Affairs Correspondent for the BBC in September 2016.

The review, led BBC veteran Ken MacQuarrie, concluded: "In my view, the recruitment process for the Religious Affairs Correspondent was targeted at finding the right person for the role.

"Although there were some shortcomings in the process by which he was re-employed, I am satisfied that that he was ultimately appointed because his knowledge and experience were considered to be the best match to the requirements for the role at that time.

"I have found no evidence that Martin Bashir was re-hired to contain and/or cover up the events surrounding the 1995 Panorama programme. In my view, that theory is entirely unfounded."

The report added: "None of the individuals involved in the recruitment of Martin Bashir had knowledge of all of the matters contained in the Dyson Report.

"I have no doubt that if any of the individuals involved in the appointment of Martin Bashir in 2016 had been aware of what is now publicly known as a result of the Dyson Report, Martin Bashir would have never been reappointed to the BBC.”

An independent probe by former judge Lord Dyson concluded then-BBC news and current affairs boss Lord Tony Hall and other executives whitewashed concerns over how Bashir bagged the scoop in 1995.

The BBC apologised and admitted it had taken “far too long to get to the truth” ­ as it pledged to return awards it won for the Panorama interview.

Lord Dyson’s report revealed Bashir fabricated information to “deceive” Diana into agreeing to talk.

He commissioned fake bank statements to persuade her that officials were being paid by MI5 and the media for information about her.

He showed them to her brother, Earl Spencer, to win his trust. The Earl took notes when he and Diana met Bashir in secret for 90 minutes at a flat in London’s Knightsbridge.

Diana's brother Earl Spencer says he takes 'full responsibility' for introducing her to Bashir but was 'reeled in'

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