Lord Hall faces pressure to quit role as chairman of National Gallery

Former BBC boss Lord Hall faces growing pressure to quit his role as chairman of the National Gallery (whose royal patron is Prince Charles)

  • MPs are understood to view the peer’s job as chairman of the National Gallery 
  • Lord Hall was among corporation bosses who were attacked by Prince William
  • He is clinging on at the National Gallery but ‘difficult to see how he could stay’

Former BBC boss Lord Hall was under growing pressure to quit his Government-backed job last night over his role in the scandal.

Ministers are understood to view the peer’s job as chairman of the National Gallery as untenable given the museum’s close connection to Prince Charles, its royal patron.

Lord Hall was among corporation bosses who were attacked by Prince William for ‘looking the other way rather than asking tough questions’ in the aftermath of the 1995 Princess Diana interview.

Lord Hall (pictured), 70, was last night clinging on at the National Gallery – to which he was appointed in January 2020 – with a Government source saying it was ‘very difficult to see how he could stay’

Members of the public queue outside the re-opened National Gallery in London on May 18, 2021

It came as Tim Suter, another BBC boss who was criticised by Lord Dyson, last night stepped down from the board of media regulator Ofcom. In his report, Lord Dyson rebuked both Lord Hall and Mr Suter for concluding that Martin Bashir’s dealings with Princess Diana were ‘straight and fair’.

Lord Hall, 70, was last night clinging on at the National Gallery – to which he was appointed in January 2020 – with a Government source saying it was ‘very difficult to see how he could stay’.

But the source reiterated that any decision to remove him is for the gallery’s trustees. His role is understood to have been discussed by individual trustees but the gallery yesterday refused to answer questions on whether the former BBC director-general will address the matter with the board.

National Gallery trustees are ultimately chosen by the Prime Minister under rules set out in law.

Diana, Princess of Wales is pictured during her bomshell Panorama interview with BBC journalist Martin Bashir in 1995

Under the terms of the Museums and Galleries Act, the board is responsible for appointing ‘one of their number to be chairman’. Trustees can serve for up to five years.

Former director of BBC News James Harding has refused to answer questions on whether Lord Hall had any role in rehiring Bashir.

A spokesman for the National Gallery said they had ‘nothing to add’ to the personal statement made by Lord Hall.

Lord Hall could not be reached for comment.

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