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Tuesday, 26 February, 2002, 13:09 GMT
Spin row: Who said what
A war of words is raging over whether Transport Secretary Stephen Byers forced the dismissal of his department's senior press officer Martin Sixsmith, or whether Mr Sixsmith offered to resign.

The row has provoked calls from opposition parties and speculation in the media that Mr Byers may soon lose his cabinet post.

The differing versions of events put out by Mr Sixsmith and the secretary of state has even seen one of the transport department's top civil servants, Sir Richard Mottram, drafted in to give his version of events.

For a quick guide to where they stand, see the table below.

What they said on Sixsmith's resignation
Transport Secretary Stephen Byers:
Both Martin Sixsmith and Jo Moore have done the right thing by offering their resignations.
Former transport communications chief Martin Sixsmith:
I wasn't sacked, I didn't resign, I haven't offered my resignation.
Civil servant, Sir Richard Mottram:
He agreed that he was willing to resign on three conditions: that Jo Moore should also resign; that ... his resignation would be presented in a manner which did not blame him; and that he needed to understand the financial terms.
Who decided he should go?
Transport Secretary Stephen Byers:
The minister says he does "not get involved in personnel matters"
Former transport communications chief Martin Sixsmith:
All the indications are that it was Stephen Byers... I was told that he would only accept Jo's resignation if I was made to resign as well.
Civil servant, Sir Richard Mottram:
On Friday 15 February, it was clear to me that this situation could not continue and that Jo Moore and Martin Sixsmith should both leave their posts...I discussed this with Mr Byers. He agreed with my proposal.

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