IAN PAISLEY: How can Lord Hall be permitted to stay in House of Lords?

IAN PAISLEY: The buck stops somewhere, and in my view, it must be at the top. How can Lord Hall be permitted to stay in the House of Lords?

When his Royal Highness Prince William made his statement, following the publication of the Dyson report, no one could have guessed just how searing a blow his words had on the very foundations of the BBC.

If any person had behaved in a manner that fuelled an individual’s ‘fear, paranoia and isolation’ and subsequently ‘contributed substantially’ to the breakdown of personal and family relationships and a marriage. If, using deceitful and corrupt practice made commercial gain; that was itself subsequently covered over by a ‘leadership that looked the other way’. There is no doubt that person would find themselves in the most serious trouble and should face the full rigour of the law including jail.

Obviously, the BBC can’t be sent to jail. But the leadership that permitted such a calumny to be perpetuated about a woman and her family must face some consequence for those actions.

It is the ‘look the other way’ leadership, the very top of the BBC that must answer for the Martin Bashir affair. It is not unusual for our media moguls to inhabit a strange layer in the world between the government and the governed.

Anthony William Hall, Baron Hall of Birkenhead CBE. The Dyson report found that Lord Hall, when director of news at the BBC, had misled authorities over methods used by Martin Bashir

Having a foot in both camps poses significant privileges and challenges. But this affair has exposed that it is a place that should no longer entertain the likes of Anthony William Hall, Baron Hall of Birkenhead CBE.

The Dyson report found that Lord Hall, when director of news at the BBC, had misled authorities over the methods used by Martin Bashir for the BBC Panorama interview with Dianna Princess of Wales. Not some mishap but a most serious misdemeanour.

The buck stops somewhere, and in my view, it must be at the top. This week in Parliament I posed the challenge to the government to find a way of stripping Lord Hall of his Peerage.

This leadership man, a one-time god at the BBC, who not only looked the other way, but then took a double take and permitted the rehiring of Bashir in the full knowledge of what had occurred.

Ian Paisley Jr arriving for the DUP meeting to ratify Edwin Poots as new leader of the party at the Ramada Hotel in Belfast. May 27, 2021

This just can’t be allowed to blow over as if it was some unfortunate error. The BBC has been accused of contributing to the breakup of a relationship, creating fear and paranoia in a woman – not just any woman – but one who could have been Queen of our nation.

If this is how the BBC top brass can treat the very top of this society what hope has any other person at their mercy? Lord Hall has already very kindly resigned as Chairman of the National Gallery. Given the most successful ‘Hold Still exhibition’ at the Portrait Gallery next door organised by HRH Catherine one can understand why he wanted to scurry offside. But back to the Lords he cannot hide!

His resignation suggests he already knows it is untenable for him to remain in a position of public trust. But he continues to be effectively one of our nation’s law makers as a privileged Member of the House of Lords.

Martin Bashir interviewing Dianna Princess of Wales for the BBC Panorama

This week I asked Jacob Rees-Mogg, how can he be permitted to stay unchallenged in the Lords? I would have expected by now that the Lords Commissioner for standards to have commenced an examination of him. That failure to be proactive means that today I have written to the commissioner asking them to commence such an investigation.

Failing that process, I will ask Jacob Rees-Mogg to consider the triggering of powers the House has to deal with a serious misdemeanour.

In recent months Peers have been sanctioned for abusive language, they have even faced punishment for failure to participate in training schemes about self-awareness. If they want to be taken seriously, the authorities must move to strip Lord Hall of his title.

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