POLITICS
21/05/2021 12:59 BST

Nothing Like BBC's Diana Interview Must 'Ever Happen Again', Says Boris Johnson

The prime minister says the broadcaster must take "every possible step" to avoid a repeat of its 1995 Panorama programme.

MATT DUNHAM via Getty Images

Boris Johnson has said the BBC must take “every possible step” to make sure “nothing like” its interview with Diana, Princess of Wales, “ever happens again”.

Speaking on Friday the prime minister said he was “obviously very concerned” about the report into the 1995 Panorama programme.

William and Harry have condemned the BBC for its treatment of their mother.

They said interview fuelled her “fear, paranoia and isolation” and a wider “culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life”.

The furious royal brothers issued scathing statements on the corporation’s actions after an inquiry found the broadcaster covered up “deceitful behaviour” used by journalist Martin Bashir to secure his headline-making interview.

Bashir was in “serious breach” of the BBC’s producer guidelines when he faked bank statements and showed them to Diana’s brother Earl Spencer to gain access to the princess, a report by Lord Dyson said.

Johnson said: “I can only imagine the feelings of the royal family and I hope very much that the BBC will be taking every possible step to make sure nothing like this ever happens again.

“I’m obviously concerned by the findings of Lord Dyson’s report – I’m very grateful to him for what he has done.

The findings of the 127-page document have prompted developments, with Scotland Yard, which previously said it would not launch a criminal investigation into Bashir’s actions, now saying it will “assess” the report to “to ensure there is no significant new evidence”.

Justice secretary Robert Buckland said ministers would be looking into whether there were BBC governance issues outside of the remit of Lord Dyson’s reports that needed reviewing.

Buckland told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: “My colleague the culture secretary, Oliver Dowden, has rightly said that we should look at the governance structures of the BBC.

“They have apologised, which is appropriate, but clearly the wider issues of governance and the way things are run now need to be looked at.”

In his rebuke of the BBC, the Duke of Cambridge said: “The interview was a major contribution to making my parents’ relationship worse and has since hurt countless others.

“It brings indescribable sadness to know that the BBC’s failures contributed significantly to her fear, paranoia and isolation that I remember from those final years with her.

“But what saddens me most, is that if the BBC had properly investigated the complaints and concerns first raised in 1995, my mother would have known that she had been deceived.

“She was failed not just by a rogue reporter, but by leaders at the BBC who looked the other way rather than asking the tough questions.”

Calling  for the documentary never to be aired again, William, 38, said: “In an era of fake news, public service broadcasting and a free press have never been more important. These failings, identified by investigative journalists, not only let my mother down, and my family down; they let the public down too.”