Priti Patel slams 'damaged' BBC as she refuses to rule out criminal prosecutions over Martin Bashir interview

PRITI Patel has slammed the BBC and refused to rule out criminal prosecutions over its 1995 interview with Princess Diana.

The Home Secretary warned the corporation's reputation has been damaged following Lord Dyson's report into Martin Bashir's "deceitful behaviour" to secure the interview.

Ms Patel added that the mid-term review of the BBC would be a "very, very significant moment" for the corporation – where "lessons have to be learned".

She told Sky News's Trevor Phillips: "If there is subsequent action that needs to be taken, then clearly – alongside the publication of this report and lessons being learned and changes, changes to the institution, structure, governance, accountability – then that will follow."

The Home Secretary added: "The BBC itself – one of our great institutions – its reputation has been compromised.


"They themselves will have to reflect upon the report and spend a great deal of time really looking at how they can regain and rebuild trust and confidence.

"They will have a great deal of work to do in this particular area. Right now is a very, very important time for the BBC to very much look at itself and learn very important lessons from the publication of this report."

Speaking to the Sunday Times, Martin Bashir, 58, said he "never wanted to harm" Diana with the Panorama interview, adding: "I don't believe we did."

The journalist, who faked documents to get his 1995 scoop, said he is "deeply sorry" to the dukes of Cambridge and Sussex.

But royal biographer Penny Junor said: "Martin Bashir’s response shows extraordinary arrogance and false confidence. I think he’s shameless.

"I find it extraordinary that Bashir doesn’t at this stage just hold his hands up and say he’s sorry — properly without the ‘buts’."

Today, Prince William ignored a question about Bashir's apology over the Panorama interview with his mum as he continued his visit to Scotland.

The Duke of Cambridge tried his hand at woodworking as he visited the Grassmarket Community Project in Edinburgh.

The project provides sanctuary and support for vulnerable people through community innovation and social enterprise.

It was developed in partnership between Greyfriars Kirk (Church of Scotland) and Grassmarket Mission in 1982 and became a standalone charity in 2010.

As he left, the Duke was asked by a reporter whether he had seen Martin Bashir's apology over the 1995 interview with his mum – but he did not respond.

In Scotland, William met chief executive Jonny Kinross and Richard Frazer, founder and Greyfriars Kirk minister.

He heard how the project works with people who are dealing with a wide range of complex issues including mental and physical health problems, disabilities, learning difficulties, poverty, substance misuse, abuse and social isolation.

William began a week-long visit to Scotland on Friday and the Duchess of Cambridge will join him on Monday for the rest of the tour.

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