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Last Updated: Friday, 30 January, 2004, 22:09 GMT
Profile: Andrew Gilligan
Andrew Gilligan
Gilligan joined the BBC in 1999
Andrew Gilligan has resigned from his job as the defence and diplomatic correspondent for BBC Radio 4's Today programme. BBC News Online looks at the man of the moment.

Born in Teddington in 1968, he attended a south-west London comprehensive school before studying history at Cambridge University.

After working as a reporter with the Cambridge Evening News from 1994 to 1995, Mr Gilligan moved to Fleet Street as a freelancer.

He soon secured a job on the foreign news desk of the Sunday Telegraph, and later became the newspaper's defence correspondent.

Undercover report

In 1999 Mr Gilligan was taken on by Today's then-editor, Rod Liddle.

Since then he has reported from about 40 countries - most recently Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Reporting for Today, Mr Gilligan went undercover to buy anti-personnel landmines in contravention of the 1998 Landmines Act and exposed the relative ease with which it was possible to register postal votes on behalf of dead people.

He also obtained a series of damning leaked official reports about Britain's performance in the Kosovo war.

The reporter broke the story of a 1bn RAF combat jet that could not drop precision bombs.

Downing Street press chief Alastair Campbell
Campbell denied Gilligan vendetta

In November 2000 Mr Gilligan was the first British journalist to report on plans for the draft European Union constitution.

Downing Street responded by saying the story was old and dubbing the reporter "gullible Gilligan".

When government communications director Alastair Campbell complained about Mr Gilligan's Iraq weapons dossier report, BBC's director of news Richard Sambrook accused the Downing Street press chief of waging a "personal vendetta" against the report, "whose reports on a number of occasions have caused you discomfort".

Mr Campbell denied any personal agenda against Mr Gilligan - who he said he had never met.

The row over his report escalated and eventually led to the Hutton Inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly - the source for Mr Gilligan's report.

'Slips of the tongue'

The inquiry heard that Today editor Kevin Marsh told a colleague the journalist's story on the dossier was "marred by flawed reporting".

Richard Sambrook, the BBC's head of news, said he had some reservations over the accuracy of Mr Gilligan's reports.

He told the Hutton Inquiry the journalist "painted in primary colours" and there were question marks over "nuance and subtlety" in his work.

Mr Gilligan himself acknowledged "slips of the tongue" in some broadcasts about what his anonymous source had said but insisted that most of his story was correct - something his bosses agreed with.

But Lord Hutton's report said Mr Gilligan's claim that the government had "sexed up" the dossier with a claim about Iraq's weapons capability it knew to be untrue, was "unfounded".

The BBC said Mr Gilligan had been working on documentaries for Radio Five Live up until his resignation.




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