Wark placed on probation, says Scottish sunday

By Hamish Mackay

Scotland on Sunday has claimed that BBC Newsnight presenter Kirsty Wark has been placed on "probation" by senior BBC executives.

The Edinburgh broadsheet said the probationary period follows her hosting Scotland\’s First Minister Jack McConnell and his family on a New Year break last year at her villa in Majorca.

Scotland on Sunday, which said that Wark would continue to be closely monitored, based its claims on a confidential document from the BBC board of governors that it obtained under freedom of information laws.

After Scotland on Sunday published a picture of Wark and her family on holiday with the McConnells in Majorca, a minute of the board said: "The board recognised that Kirsty Wark was highly talented and widely respected.

"Her integrity was not in question but her actions had put the BBC in a difficult position.

"The issue for the BBC was one of perception of impartiality both among the public and politicians. Governors discussed the management\’s handling of the matter and were assured that management would assess her interviewing and presenting roles on a case-by-case basis to address the issue of perceptions of impartiality.

The minute added: "The board asked management to ensure this process remained rigorous."

Wark has publicly defended her hospitality on the grounds that the McConnells had been family friends of her husband, Alan Clements, and herself for around 20 years.

In a statement released to Scotland on Sunday, the BBC said: "Kirsty Wark is a journalist of the utmost experience and integrity and we continue to have every confidence in her ability.

"In the context of past events we still continue to review the position regarding interviewees and any issues regarding impartiality as would be the case with all our presenters.

"We want to make clear that Kirsty Wark has our full support."

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