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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday he was “very concerned” about the findings of an official report that found former BBC journalist Martin Bashir used deceitful tactics to land the bombshell 1995 interview with Princess Diana.
“I am obviously concerned by the findings of Lord Dyson’s report,” Johnson told reporters, referring to former senior judge John Dyson, who led an inquiry that found Bashir had used deceit and fake bank statements to secure the sit-down, Reuters reported.
The report also lambasted the BBC over its “woefully ineffective” investigation of Bashir’s actions.
“I can only imagine the feelings of the, the royal family and I hope very much that the BBC will be taking every possible step to make sure that nothing like this ever happens again,” Johnson said.
Meanwhile, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden condemned the “damning failings at the heart of the BBC” — and suggested that a review of the broadcaster expected to start next year could now be expanded, the Independent reported.
“We will now reflect on Lord Dyson’s thorough report and consider whether further governance reforms at the BBC are needed in the mid-term charter review,” Dowden said in a tweet.
“I welcome the fact that the new leadership launched this independent inquiry and expect them to ensure that this can never happen again,” he added.
Citing Bashir’s use of “false documents” ahead of the interview, Justice Secretary Robert Buckland described the findings in Dyson’s report as “hugely serious.”
“There is a lot of work for the BBC to do in order to make good what happened here,” Buckland told Sky News on Friday.
Scotland Yard has said it will “assess the contents” of the report to ensure there is “no significant new evidence” after police earlier decided against pursuing a criminal probe in the matter.
Dyson concluded that Bashir had faked bank statements designed to suggest Diana was under surveillance to win the trust of her brother, Earl Spencer — and eventually gain access to her, the BBC reported.
The inquiry found that as media interest in the interview increased, the news outlet covered up what it had learned about how the journalist secured the interview.
A 1996 internal investigation had been “woefully ineffective,” Dyson said.
A note written by the princess — published for the first time in the report — said she had no regrets about the interview and Bashir did not show her the forged materials.
Dyson said the BBC should have considered the possibility that the faked documents were shown to Earl Spencer to influence his sister.
Prince William said the deception fueled his mother’s paranoia and worsened the relationship between her and his dad, Prince Charles, the BBC reported.
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