Lord Hall quits National Gallery role in wake of Martin Bashir scandal

Lord Hall has resigned as chairman of the National Gallery after being heavily criticised in the Dyson investigation into the BBC’s handling of the Martin Bashir scandal. The move follows mounting pressure on the former BBC director-general to go after it was found the corporation presided over a cover-up following Bashir’s “deceitful behaviour” in securing an interview with Princess Diana in 1995. In a statement, Lord Hall said: “I have today resigned as chair of the National Gallery. I have always had a strong sense of public service and it is clear my continuing in the role would be a distraction to an institution I care deeply about. As I said two days ago, I am very sorry for the events of 25 years ago and I believe leadership means taking responsibility.” Lord Dyson, a former judge, found Lord Hall conducted a “woefully ineffective” investigation in 1996 and had wrongly concluded Bashir simply suffered a “lapse” and was an “honest and honourable man”. Instead, Lord Dyson found Bashir had used forged documents to “deceive” Earl Spencer in order to secure the interview with the princess for the now infamous Panorama programme. The findings led to calls for Lord Hall to “fall on his sword” because if he stayed on at the National Gallery it would cause a “significant embarrassment” to the Prince of Wales, the royal patron of the gallery. Sir John Kingman, deputy chair of the National Gallery Board of Trustees, said: “Tony Hall has been doing a superb job as chair of the National Gallery, where he is much respected and liked. The Gallery is extremely sorry to lose him, but of course we entirely understand and respect his decision.” Dr Gabriele Finaldi, National Gallery director, said: “I would like to express my gratitude to Tony Hall for his excellent work as chair of trustees of the National Gallery. He has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to the gallery and it has been a great pleasure to work closely with him as we have faced the challenges of Covid and as we prepare to mark the gallery’s bicentenary in 2024.”

Politics latest news: Incoming DUP leader opposes Australia trade deal, warning of 'high level of risk' to UK farmers

Boris Johnson told to cut farmers' red tape to offset 'damage' from Australia trade deal 'Quite a few' countries on cusp of green list, says Boris Johnson Duke of Cambridge: The BBC fuelled my mother’s paranoia Coronavirus latest news: Indian variant is 'major issue' and could delay June 21 reopening, says government adviser A zero tariff, zero quota trade deal between the UK and Australia would damage Northern Ireland's beef and sheep trade, Stormont's incoming DUP leader has warned. Edwin Poots, Northern Ireland's agriculture minister who will take over as leader from Arlene Foster, said the prospect of such an agreement posed a "high level of risk" to farmers across the UK. Mr Poots' "strong opposition" to the proposed zero tariff, zero quota deal comes amid reports from Downing Street that "negotiations are still ongoing" after a Cabinet rift over the deal took hold. Ministers are split between free traders pushing for full liberalisation to boost the flow of goods and sceptics who are concerned about cheap Australian meat imports impacting British farms. Mr Poots outlined his concerns in a letter to UK Environment Secretary George Eustice, in which he said: " The prospect of such a deal presents a high level of risk to Northern Ireland and UK farmers." He added: " T he UK should maintain tariff protection at present levels for all agricultural products where the UK has a significant production interest." International Trade Secretary Liz Truss will today speak to Australian trade minister Dan Tehan as they race to seal the terms of a free trade deal within three weeks

BBC apologizes over famous Princess Diana interview secured using 'deceitful' methods

The BBC is publicly apologizing over a famous interview with Princess Diana that an independent inquiry has concluded was secured using "deceitful" methods. A report released on Thursday found that BBC journalist Martin Bashir showed fake bank statements to Princess Diana's brother, Charles Spencer, which "deceived and induced him to arrange a meeting with Princess Diana" in 1995, CNN reports. "By gaining access to Princess Diana in this way, Mr. Bashir was able to persuade her to agree to give the interview," the report said. This violated BBC's guidelines, the report also concluded. The six-month inquiry into the 1995 interview was conducted by Lord Dyson, a former judge, according to Deadline. Princess Diana famously spoke about her relationship with Prince Charles during the interview, saying there were "three of us" in the marriage in reference to Camilla Parker Bowles. It had previously been alleged that Bashir in securing the interview "used forged documents that suggested the palace staff were working against Princess Diana and being paid to spy on her," according to CNN. BBC Director-General Tim Davie acknowledged Thursday that "the process for securing the interview fell far short of what audiences have a right to expect," and "we are very sorry for this." Davie added that "while the BBC cannot turn back the clock after a quarter of a century, we can make a full and unconditional apology." Dyson's report also found that a previous internal investigation that the BBC conducted in 1996 was "woefully ineffective," per Deadline. Bashir recently stepped down as BBC religion editor amid the inquiry, with the BBC's deputy director of news saying he is "facing some ongoing issues and has decided to focus on his health." More stories from theweek.comWhat the left gets wrong about the Israel-Palestine conflictThe enormous downside of another long, public Trump investigation that comes to nothingAngelina Jolie stands perfectly still, unshowered, covered in bees for World Bee Day

Princess Diana gave me information in faked bank statements, claims Martin Bashir

Martin Bashir told a BBC inquiry that information contained in faked bank statements came from Princess Diana, The Telegraph can disclose. The mocked-up bank statements are at the heart of an inquiry led by Lord Dyson, the Master of the Rolls, into the conduct of Bashir in securing his world exclusive interview with the princess in 1995. Lord Dyson has completed his detailed report, due to be published this week and expected to contain damning criticism of Bashir, 58, who resigned as the BBC's religion editor on grounds of ill-health ahead of its publication. The bank statements showed fake payments from a tabloid newspaper and from an offshore company totalling £10,500 going into a bank account of a company owned by the former head of security of Earl Spencer, Princess Diana's brother. Bashir is accused of using the false statements to gain Earl Spencer's trust and persuade him to introduce the journalist to his sister. Princess Diana went on to give the famous interview to Bashir for the BBC's Panorama in which she declared that "there were three of us in this marriage" in reference to Prince Charles's affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles. Bashir showed mocked up bank statements to Diana's brother The Telegraph now understands that Bashir defended the use of the mocked-up statements by insisting he only did it after being given the information by Princess Diana. He has told Lord Dyson she was the source of the claims that payments were made into the account of Alan Waller, Earl Spencer’s former head of security. Bashir approached a freelance graphics artist who worked for the BBC and requested he mock up bank statements showing the payments. The statements were later shown to Earl Spencer. Princess Diana, according to Bashir, later withdrew claims about the payments and there is no suggestion Mr Waller was receiving such payments. It would be impossible for all the information to have come from Princess Diana since one of the companies alleged to have made payments to Waller was an obscure offshore business with which only Bashir was familiar as a result of a previous unrelated investigation he had carried out for Panorama. Mocking up was ‘common practice at Panorama’ Bashir is understood to have told Lord Dyson that he mocked up the statements because it was a common practice for Panorama journalists at the time and that they were useful to keep in a file for any future investigation. Lord Dyson is investigating whether the statements and other methods deployed by Bashir were instrumental in securing the Diana interview.