BBC blasted over Princess Diana Panorama inquiry for failing to probe Director General Lord Hall’s role

5 days ago 8

THE BBC has been blasted over its Martin Bashir Panorama inquiry for failing to probe former Director General Lord Hall’s role.

It comes after The Sun on Sunday revealed last week how the controversial Princess Diana reporter was “secretly” promoted to Religion Editor despite concerns over his tactics.

Concerns have been voiced about the role played by former BBC boss Lord Hall

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Concerns have been voiced about the role played by former BBC boss Lord HallCredit: AFP - Getty

Martin Bashir was promoted to Religion Editor despite concerns over his tactics

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Martin Bashir was promoted to Religion Editor despite concerns over his tacticsCredit: Rex Features

Then Director GeneraL Lord Hall had cleared Bashir of wrongdoing in 1995 for allegedly forging bank statements to secure the interview with Diana.

The concerns come as Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, blasted the parameters of the inquiry, which has been set up to probe claims Bashir told a string of lies to land the scoop.

A source said: “Crucially, there is nothing in the terms of reference about why Bashir was allowed to return to the BBC and then given such a rapid promotion.

PROMOTED BY BOSS WHO CLEARED HIM

“He was allowed to return under Lord Hall as Director General, the man who had cleared him over the alleged forged bank statements and wild claims. He then goes from correspondent to editor in 15 months. The editor role was not advertised.

“Why was he given such a cushy role when he had already been involved in such a huge controversy which has come out recently. It goes to the heart of the decision-making processes at the BBC. It was Lord Hall that cleared him.

“This inquiry feels like a whitewash before it has even got started.”

It is feared the inquiry will run into a seven-figure cost. Its terms have been set by Lord Dyson - who has been taken on to lead the probe - and approved by the BBC.

The Sun on Sunday can reveal there a fears at the BBC that Steve Hewlett, editor of Panorama at the time of the interview and who died in 2017, will be blamed.

BBC journalist Tom Mangold said Hewlett was at the centre of a conspiracy to cover up deceit allegedly used by Bashir to get Diana in front of the cameras.

The source added: “It feels like a cover-up is being launched into a cover-up. Before this inquiry has got started the finger of blame is being pointed at a man who has died and who cannot answer questions.

Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, has blasted the parameters of the inquiry, which has been set up to probe claims Bashir lied to land the scoop

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Diana’s brother, Earl Spencer, has blasted the parameters of the inquiry, which has been set up to probe claims Bashir lied to land the scoopCredit: Getty Images - Getty

It has been reported that Prince Harry is 'getting regular updates' about the probe into the circumstances surrounding his mother's interview

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It has been reported that Prince Harry is 'getting regular updates' about the probe into the circumstances surrounding his mother's interviewCredit: Getty Images - Getty

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“Guns are being pointed at Steve Hewlett. There is a fear Bashir will be painted as an inexperienced journalist who was too keen and it was all Steve’s fault. It’s nonsense.”

It has been reported that Prince Harry is “getting regular updates” about the probe.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said she was sure the investigation will take the course Lord Dyson thinks is appropriate as it progresses.

Prince Harry joins William in backing BBC probe into claims Panorama duped Princess Diana into 1995 interview

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