Arbiter of public decency on TV resigns over private life

Lord Holme of Cheltenham resigned as chairman of the Broadcasting Standards Commission yesterday after lurid details about his private life were published.

Lord Holme of Cheltenham resigned as chairman of the Broadcasting Standards Commission yesterday after lurid details about his private life were published.

The Liberal Democrat peer, 64, who is married with grown-up children, admitted to a three-year affair with a younger woman, although he said the relationship was now over. The News of the World also alleged he had a second affair.

Lord Holme accused the Sunday tabloid of spying on the couple throughout the summer. "To attempt to continue in my role as an arbiter of standards in the face of this story would be wrong," he said. "I do not seek to excuse myself but, as I duly fall on my sword, I leave it to others to judge what 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."

Lord Holme, a leading figure in his party, said that his wife would stand by him. "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."

Charles Kennedy, the Liberal Democrat leader, expressed sadness at Lord Holme's departure from the £49,000-a-year post. "Richard Holme has made an outstanding contribution over the years, not only to the Liberal Democrat cause, but to British public life as a whole."

Chris Smith, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said in a letter to the peer: "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."

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