Andrew Marr has told the Daily Mail that he is to let a privacy injunction, which stopped the press writing about his extra-marital affair with another journalist, lapse rather than face a legal challenge from Private Eye magazine.
Marr, the BBC broadcaster and former editor of the Independent, won a High Court injunction in January 2008 to suppress reports of a relationship with a fellow journalist five years earlier.
According to the Mail, at the time, he believed he had fathered a child with the woman. He also made maintenance payments – until he discovered through a DNA test that he was not the girl's father.
The Mail reports: "When challenged by the Daily Mail yesterday, Marr declared he was now embarrassed by his gagging order and would no longer seek to prevent the story being published.
"His affair, which ended in 2003, was common knowledge at Westminster and within the BBC, where he was political editor. But the injunction banned publication of his name in connection with the story.
"Mr Marr said injunctions should not last 'for ever' and that their increased use by celebrities was 'out of control'."
Marr told the Mail: "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."
The Mail also says: "Marr decided to go public after being contacted by another publication – thought to be the satirical magazine Private Eye – which planned to challenge his injunction, taken out in 2008 against Associated Newspapers, publisher of the Daily Mail.
"As that would have involved further legal action, he decided, after discussing the issue with his wife, to walk away from the controversial gagging order."
Private Eye has been reporting on the existence of the Marr injunction for sometime. The Eye's Legal News column says: "So it was last year when Andrew Marr won an injunction to stop the media revealing 'private information' about him – and to stop them revealing that he’d stopped them.
"Marr himself was on record arguing against a judge-made privacy law and calling for a public debate on the subject. Any such debate should include some reference to the effect of super-injunctions; yet Marr’s, like many others these days, was so draconian that one couldn’t mention its existence.
"Nor were we allowed to know on what grounds it had been given. After a long struggle by Lord Gnome’s lawyers, the order was varied so that we could at least say that he’d obtained it, while not repeating the story he wished to suppress."