Lord Holme says he has no remorse over affair

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The Independent Online

Lord Holme of Cheltenham insisted yesterday that he was "not in the least remorseful" about having an affair while chairman of the Broadcasting Standards Commission.

Lord Holme of Cheltenham insisted yesterday that he was "not in the least remorseful" about having an affair while chairman of the Broadcasting Standards Commission.

Speaking for the first time since his resignation after the exposure of lurid details about his private life, the Liberal Democrat peer maintained his earlier unapologetic tone.

"If having affairs with attractive women is in itself disbarring people from doing anything useful in public life we would have lost a lot of our own prime ministers, several American presidents and many people who perform a useful role," he said. "So I am not in the terms of my public role in the least remorseful."

Lord Holme, 64, who has continued to enjoy the public support of his wife of 42 years, Kay, as well as their grown up children, admitted that he felt sorry for causing them pain as well as embarrassment to the Commission. But, in a tone reminiscent of his resignation letter to Chris Smith, the Secretary of State for Culture, he said: "It is not so much that I caused it, but the lurid stories did."

Lord Holme gave up his £49,000-a-year post at the taste and decency watchdog last week after the News of the World claimed he had had affairs with two young women. He admitted one affair, insisting it was now over.

"I did not resign because I had a love affair with a young woman," he said on BBC Radio 4. "I resigned because of the lurid story that appeared in the News of the World and was then picked up by other newspapers which in my view could cause embarrassment for the Broadcasting Standards Commission in the important job it does. I felt it couldn't do that job properly with me as Chairman.

"Had I been Minister of State at Ag and Fish I would probably not have resigned."

The peer, who, as chairman of Prague's English School, is due to welcome the Prince of Wales today, nevertheless admitted he should have acted more prudently and been aware that his public position might make him a target.

"My wife was hurt not only by my own infidelity but at the extremely disproportionate publicity given to it," he said. "I would say knowing and loving her for 40 years that her hurt is greatly outweighed by her irritation at my foolishness. But she is a strong woman and we've loved each other for a long time and continue to do so."

In his resignation letter, Lord Holme wrote: "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."

The whole experience of being exposed to public scrutiny had been "like reading your own obituary while you are still alive," he said yesterday.

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