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BBC journalist branded a hypocrite over super-injunction

'Private Eye' editor Ian Hislop has accused the BBC's Andrew Marr of hypocrisy after he admitted taking out a controversial super-injunction while working as a journalist.

Mr Marr, the corporation's former political editor, won a High Court order in January 2008 to silence the press following his extramarital affair with a national newspaper reporter.

Mr Hislop, who has been fighting the so-called gagging order and challenged the injunction only last week, condemned the suppression of reporting as "a touch hypocritical" yesterday.

"As a leading BBC interviewer who is asking politicians about failures in judgment, failures in their private lives, inconsistencies, it was pretty rank of him to have an injunction," he said.

"I think he knows that and I'm very pleased he's come forward and said 'I can no longer do this'."

Mr Marr, he said, had written an article saying that Parliament -- not judges -- should determine privacy law.

Mr Marr -- married to 'Guardian' columnist Jackie Ashley with three children -- said he now felt "uneasy" about the order.

"I did not come into journalism to go around gagging journalists," he said. "Am I embarrassed by it? Yes. Am I uneasy about it? Yes."

But he added: "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 public interest in it."

But he said the use of injunctions now seemed to be "running out of control".

"There is a case for privacy in a limited number of difficult situations, but then you have to move on," he said.

The woman with whom he had the affair is a political journalist. Since their fling, some eight years ago, her name has appeared widely online.

Mr Hislop, who stressed that 'Private Eye' did not have the money to challenge all super-injunctions, said: "In a sense, he led the pack because he was the most respectable of the people putting super-injunctions in. But the principle remains wrong, which he knows, articulated once and should still believe."

Irish Independent