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The BBC's Jonathan Beale
"He was the guardian of standards of taste and decency"
 real 56k

Sunday, 22 October, 2000, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
TV watchdog boss resigns
Lord Holme was appointed last year
Lord Holme was appointed last year
Liberal Democrat peer Lord Holme has resigned as chairman of the Broadcasting Standards Commission after newspaper revelations about his private life.


Your contribution as chairman will be greatly missed

Culture Secretary Chris Smith
The peer, 64, admitted having had an extramarital affair over a three-year period, following allegations in the News of the World.

He said in a statement: "My wife Kay and I have been married for 42 years and she wants it to be known that, although she felt very hurt when I told her of my infidelity, she is nevertheless determined, as am I, that we shall stay together at the heart of our family.

"I am glad of her love and grateful for her determination."

In his letter of resignation Lord Holme attacked the "effect this sort of journalism, based on spying, telephone interception and misappropriated private correspondence for commercial gain, has on the quality of our public life".

But he added: "However, I have concluded that to attempt to continue in my role as an arbiter of standards in the face of this story would be wrong."

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport confirmed that Secretary of State Chris Smith had accepted Lord Holme's resignation.

'Regret'

In a letter to the Peer, Mr Smith said he regretted his departure.

"You have given strong and clear leadership to the commission and your contribution as chairman will be greatly missed as we take forward our reform of broadcasting and communication regulation.

"I very much hope that this does not mark for you a permanent departure from public life."

Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy MP praised Lord Holme's "outstanding contribution over the years, not only to the Liberal Democrat cause, but to British public life as a whole".

He added: "It is a matter of regret that he has felt that he should step down from the chairmanship of the Broadcasting Standards Commission, but knowing Richard and his integrity in these matters, we must respect his decision."

Lord Holme was appointed to the role in September 1999, replacing Lady Howe.

The Commission is the only body that covers all television and radio. The ITC regulates only independent stations.

He had previously worked as the Liberal Democrat's election campaign chairman in 1997.

He also played a key role in increasing co-operation between Labour and the Liberal Democrats.

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30 Sep 99 | UK
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