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Last Updated: Monday, 21 July, 2003, 05:52 GMT 06:52 UK
Papers pile pressure on BBC

Pressure from the press on the BBC is stepped up on Monday following the corporation's confirmation that Dr David Kelly was the main source for its Iraq dossier story.

The Sun is typically blunt in its editorial. "How can we ever trust the BBC again?" it thunders.

The paper says the corporation should have come cleaner sooner. Instead, it accuses the BBC of watching from the sidelines as Dr Kelly was torn apart by a committee of MPs.

"The BBC is in the gutter", declares the tabloid.

It also claims that by standing by his story, reporter Andrew Gilligan has effectively branded Dr Kelly a liar.

According to the Times, tough questions must be asked about the nature of BBC defence correspondent Andrew Gilligan's report and the decision by the BBC governors to support him before the MPs had delivered their findings.

It describes the BBC's confirmation of its source as the end of an "epic 52-day pretence".

Longest weekend

But, the paper says, the government must also explain how and why Dr Kelly's name was made public.

The paper also prints a series of pictures of Prime Minister Tony Blair to illustrate what it calls his longest weekend.

He is shown grinning in Washington after 19 standing ovations at the US Congress, but looking tense and gaunt in Tokyo and Seoul after hearing of Dr Kelly's death.

The Guardian says the BBC had refused a Downing Street offer of a truce days before Dr Kelly was named by the Ministry of Defence as being the source.

The paper said BBC chairman Gavyn Davies and director general Greg Dyke had turned down the offer as they were determined to continue the battle with Number 10's director of communication Alastair Campbell.

Awkward questions

The Daily Star demands straight answers and alleges that the government and the BBC played a malign part in the death of Dr Kelly.

In the view of the Independent, the statement issued on Sunday by the BBC raises awkward questions about the corporation's journalism.

But it believes that, when the shock of Dr Kelly's death has faded, Mr Blair must answer a serious charge "that, under political pressure, the Joint Intelligence Committee produced a document which stretched every sinew to justify a war upon which the prime minister had already decided".

The Daily Mirror says someone is lying - it hopes that the independent inquiry into Dr Kelly's death, headed by Lord Hutton, will unearth the answers which the country, the government and the BBC need to hear.

Hoon criticised

The inquiry is expected to question MoD officials, whose boss Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon is lambasted in the Daily Mail for attending the British Grand Prix on Sunday as Dr Kelly's family grieves.

The paper described Mr Hoon's visit as "crass insensitivity".

The Daily Telegraph reports on a poll, conducted after Dr Kelly's death, that shows Mr Blair has suffered "huge damage to his reputation" as a direct result of the tragedy.

Forty-seven per cent of respondents blamed the government for the death, 39% said Mr Blair should resign, and 41% said he should remain as prime minister.

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