Martin Bashir, the former MSNBC presenter, has stepped down from his role as BBC News’ religion editor on health grounds. It comes as he is at the center of an investigation into how the BBC obtained a bombshell interview with Princess Diana in 1995.
In an email to staff, BBC deputy director of news Jonathan Munro said: “Martin Bashir has stepped down from his position as the BBC’s Religion Editor, and is leaving the Corporation. He let us know of his decision last month, just before being readmitted to hospital for another surgical procedure on his heart. Although he underwent major surgery toward the end of last year, he is facing some ongoing issues and has decided to focus on his health.”
Bashir became seriously unwell with complications related to coronavirus last October, the BBC said at the time. He joined the BBC to report on religious affairs in 2016, marking a return to the UK after a spell in America where he hosted ABC’s Nightline show, before joining MSNBC as an anchor.
Bashir is famed for his explosive Panorama interview with Princess Diana in 1995, during which she admitted to an adulterous affair. How he obtained that interview is now the subject of an independent inquiry by former supreme court judge Lord Dyson, who is due to deliver his findings in the near future.
It follows Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, presenting the BBC with a “dossier” of evidence that cast new light on the tactics deployed by Bashir after he was originally cleared of wrongdoing by the broadcaster in 1996. Lord Dyson will determine if Bashir forged documents in an effort to secure access.