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Last Updated: Friday, 18 July, 2003, 22:22 GMT 23:22 UK
Politicians and journalists in the spotlight
BBC political editor Andrew Marr talks to the Ten O'Clock News about the impact the apparent death of Dr David Kelly might have for the government and journalists.

News: This is a tragedy for Dr Kelly's family first of all and we should repeat that we still don't know the cause of death. But already accusations are flying out about who, if anyone, is to blame in all of this. How damaging could this be to the government, to Tony Blair?

Clearly very damaging indeed, depending on the answer to the key question that people are going to be posing, which is this: In their single-minded and highly energetic search, in their argument with the BBC to clear Alastair Campbell's name, did Downing Street, did Alastair Campbell, did [Defence Secretary] Geoff Hoon push Dr Kelly into a position so exposed and so difficult that he could not cope with it?

That's the main allegation against them. Alastair Campbell is a decent man who will be extremely upset by what has happened tonight.

I do not know what he'll do, but I have to say that I'll be very very surprised if after this he has an enormous appetite to stay in the job for much longer.

We've heard people saying that journalists and maybe the BBC may need to shoulder the blame.

I think the BBC is also in the spotlight on this. The question for the BBC is in declining to say whether or not Dr Kelly was the source - and there is genuine ambiguity about this, people who spoke to Dr Kelly before that hearing really believed that he was the source [for the story that the Iraq weapons dossier had been "sexed up"], and yet the MPs who heard him speak publicly were equally convinced that he wasn't.

We are not going to get the answer to that I think very quickly.

The question is did the BBC, by not giving that answer, carry on piling the pressure on to him?

The truth is that all round Westminster people are starting to become defensive, aggressive and starting to blame each other, saying 'It couldn't have been us, it was really the other guys'.

I have to say that throughout the rest of the country as people look on at journalists, at politicians and officials, they will probably say 'a plague on all of you, you're all part of this, it was your game that dragged this man, who if you like was a civilian in your war, into it and probably in the end, all of you killed him'.

The BBC's Andrew Marr
"Both sides have regarded him as their trump card - but he wasn't"

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