Martin Bahsir has left the BBC on health grounds.
Mr Bashir, who was employed as the BBC’s Religious Editor, conducted the infamous 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, Princess of Wales.
That interview and the circumstances surrounding how Mr Bashir managed to secure it is now subject to an internal inquiry following a series of allegations.
Jonathan Munro, Deputy Director at BBC News, 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.”
Last year, The Sunday Times reported that Mr Bashir faked bank statements to convince Earl Spencer, Diana’s younger brother, that members of his staff were being paid by newspapers to talk about the family. It was these bank statements that were used to help secure the interview.
The Metropolitan Police confirmed earlier this year that a criminal investigation will not be opened, however, an independent investigation is underway to establish the circumstances of what happened in 1995.
Lord Dyson, former Master of the Rolls and Head of Civil Justice, will lead the investigation. He will be tasked with determining how Martin Bashir and the BBC obtained their interview with Diana.
In that interview, Diana revealed, among other bombshells, that there were “three of us” in her marriage to the Prince of Wales, confirming his affair with then-Camilla Parker Bowles; that she’d had her own extramarital affairs; and that she didn’t think she’d be queen, though she wanted to be “a queen in people’s hearts.”
Tim Davie, the BBC’s Director-General, announced Lord Dyson’s appointment on November 18 2020 saying, “The BBC is determined to get to the truth about these events, and that is why we have commissioned an independent investigation.”
On the same evening, Prince William commented, “The independent investigation is a step in the right direction. It should help establish the truth behind the actions that led to the Panorama interview and subsequent decisions taken by those in the BBC at the time.”