BBC's Andrew Marr drops 'embarrassing' gagging order

BBC journalist Andrew Marr has lifted an injunction preventing journalists from revealing details of an extra-marital affair he had with another journalist.

The Daily Mail today reports that after challenging Marr over an affair he had eight years ago he ‘declared he was embarrassed by his gagging order and would no longer seek to prevent his story being published”.

The High Court injunction was granted in January 2008 to stop publication of details about Marr’s affair with a ‘prominent political journalist”.

Marr believed he had fathered a child with the woman and made maintenance payments, but after DNA tests he later discovered the child was not his – the Mail reports.

Commenting on the recent spate of privacy injunctions taken out by high-profile figures, Marr told the paper that injunctions should not last ‘forever’and said their use had become ‘out of control”.

He said: ‘I did not come into journalism to go around gagging journalists.

‘Am I embarrassed by it? Yes. Am I uneasy about it? Yes. But at the time there was a crisis in my marriage and I believed there was a young child involved.

‘I also had my own family to think about, and I believed this story was nobody else’s business.

‘I still believe there was, under those circumstances, no legitimate public interest in it.”

Marr has been married to Guardian columnist Jackie Ashley for 23 years and has a son and two daughters.

According to the Mail, Marr went public after being contact by another publication, thought to be Private Eye, which planned to challenge theinjunction in the High Court. The injunction was originally taken out against Associated Newspapers, the publisher of the Daly Mail.

The Mail reported today: “Mr Marr’s move highlights the absurdity of the current law, and critics will hope it helps pave the way for a fundamental rethink.”

It added: “He was one of the first to be granted the privacy injunction, but he has watched with growing embarrassment as it has spawned into a lucrative industry for lawyers and the first port of call for unfaithful footballers and other celebrities.”

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