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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 July, 2003, 15:33 GMT 16:33 UK
Weapons witness was 'badly treated'
David Kelly, government weapons proliferation adviser
David Kelly left his home on Thursday afternoon
Members of the committee that quizzed weapons expert Dr David Kelly have spoken of their concern at how he was treated.

Tory MP Richard Ottoway, a member of the Commons foreign affairs committee, believed the witness "had been treated very badly indeed".

Mr Ottaway added that the committee had even written to the Ministry of Defence to express its concern for Dr Kelly.

He is not used to the intense spotlight he has been put under
Commons foreign affairs committee member Richard Ottaway

He said: "People like Dr Kelly are not used to the sort of exposure that he has had.

"He did give a hint of the pressure he was under when he said he was unable to get to his house at the moment because of the media intrusion.

"He is not used to the media glare, he is not used to the intense spotlight he has been put under."

Responding to the news on Friday that a body had been discovered, Mr Ottaway said it would be a "tragedy of ghastly proportions" if "political machinations" had resulted in his death.

He looked like a man under a great deal of pressure
Commons foreign affairs committee member Greg Pope

The MP added: "He was quite obviously used by the government and the Ministry of Defence.

"It brings now into question this whole regime of spin and manipulation ... by the government and its advisers."

Huge media attention has been focused on Dr Kelly since the MoD said he had admitted meeting Andrew Gilligan, the BBC correspondent behind a story claiming Downing Street had "sexed up" a dossier about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Another member of the Commons committee, Labour MP Greg Pope, told BBC News that Dr Kelly "looked like a man under a great deal of pressure when we interviewed him on Tuesday".

I don't think he was entirely happy giving evidence to a select committee
Commons foreign affairs committee member John Maples

"I was quite concerned and other members of the committee felt the same way."

"Some people thought he had been made a fall guy by his employers, other people thought he had been put in a very difficult position by the BBC's decision not to reveal whether or not he was Mr Gilligan's main source.

Another member of the committee, Tory MP John Maples, agreed that Dr Kelly had been "badly treated".

"I don't think he was entirely happy giving evidence to a select committee," he said.

"When he came to give evidence, obviously he would rather not have been there."

I find it incredible that someone who had given evidence to a select committee on any subject should disappear in circumstances like this
Commons foreign affairs committee member Eric Illsley

Labour committee member Eric Illsley said he was "shocked" by what had happened.

"In my long experience of select committees I cannot recall anything remotely similar to this.

Liberal Democrat committee member David Chidgey told BBC News: "Most of the witnesses that come before us think they are going to be facing an ordeal.

"We try to be as firm as we can and clarify the issues as firmly and accurately as possible - so in that sense it is challenging."

But Mr Chidgey added: "Dr Kelly did not seem to be suffering unduly from the examination he was going through."

Political editor of the Spectator, Peter Oborne, told BBC News that Dr Kelly was "a nice, quiet, honourable man" who had become the victim of a game played by journalists and politicians.

"Somebody made the decision to put his name forward into the public domain.

"The decision was not made by him, it was made by Downing Street."




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