Martin Bashir leaves BBC 'to concentrate on health' after catching Covid-19

Martin Bashir Credit: PA

The BBC has announced its religion editor Martin Bashir will leave the corporation for health reasons.

Mr Bashir, 58, has been absent from the BBC for several months after suffering from Covid-19 and undergoing a quadruple bypass.

His departure comes not long after questions were raised over how he secured an interview with Princess Diana for Panorama in 1995.

An investigation into the interview, led by Supreme Court judge Lord Dyson, has concluded and the report has been passed to the BBC for publication in due course.

The deputy director of BBC 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.

"We wish him a complete and speedy recovery."

The Diana interview with Martin Bashir was the biggest royal scoop of the decade Credit: PA

In March the Metropolitan Police confirmed they would not investigate how Mr Bashir secured the interview with Princess Diana.

It is claimed that Mr Bashir used the bank statements to show Earl Spencer that one of his employees had betrayed him and was, in fact, being paid to spy on Princess Diana.The claim encouraged Charles Spencer to introduce the BBC reporter to his older sister and ultimately led to Diana giving the BBC the biggest royal scoop of the decade.

The documents falsely suggested Diana’s then private secretary, and another royal household member, were being paid by the security services to spy on the princess, something that played on Diana’s fears about her safety and privacy.In the interview, Diana revealed she had had an affair while with Prince Charles and also opened up about the role the then Camilla Parker-Bowles played in their marriage.The BBC has apologised for the incident.