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Last Updated: Friday, 26 September, 2003, 05:17 GMT 06:17 UK
Papers blame government and BBC
Dr David Kelly
Dr Kelly said he did not believe he was the BBC's main source
The UK press has been passing judgement, following the final day of the six-week inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly.

Lord Hutton is expected to publish his report into the apparent suicide of the government scientist by late November or December.

But many of the papers have already decided the government - in particular Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon - and the BBC - in particular reporter Andrew Gilligan - are to blame.

Many save their harshest words for Mr Hoon, who some believe will lose his job over his department's "outing" of Dr Kelly as the source of the BBC report on the dossier on Iraq's weapons.

Mr Hoon's refusal to take responsibility for the leaking of Dr Kelly's name "impressed no-one", the Financial Times says.

Liar, bully, hypocrite - is this Hoon's epitaph?
Daily Mirror
"He cannot survive Lord Hutton's report," it argues.

The FT also believes mistakes by the BBC in its handling of the affair "is likely to hasten the arrival of an outside regulator for the broadcaster".

The Daily Mail says the government has effectively been accused of driving Dr Kelly to his death, and that could "prove the final nail in the coffin of Mr Hoon".

In its editorial, the Daily Mirror praises Prime Minister Tony Blair for setting up the inquiry.

It says it has been a "real public service" - although "it could do incalculable harm to the government".

The most unambiguously guilty party was the BBC
Daily Telegraph

The Daily Telegraph too criticises the government, although it also has harsh words for civil servants, the intelligence service, the BBC and even Dr Kelly himself.

It describes the BBC as "the most unambiguously guilty party" for running and then belligerently standing by claims about the government which were "untrue, and probably malicious".

"Even by the most charitable interpretation, Andrew Gilligan twisted and exaggerated what he had been told by Dr Kelly, in a manner that was unprofessional and irresponsible," it says.

As for Dr Kelly, he "ought never to have briefed against his own government... and he was not entirely frank with his employers," it says.

In committing suicide "one suspects, he felt not only exterior pressure, but some burden of guilt", the paper adds - a point shared by The Times.

"Whatever the institutional failings pointed up by this unusual hearing... the answer to the question at its heart is clear.

It seems likely Lord Hutton will conclude that BBC News's performance was woeful
The Sun

"There can be no doubt that Lord Hutton will find that the person who killed Dr Kelly was Dr Kelly himself," The Times says.

The Sun thinks both Mr Hoon and Mr Gilligan were "damned" by the Hutton inquiry.

But it says BBC News, which it describes as "arrogant, incompetent, blinkered and biased", must take the lion's share of the blame for the whole saga.

It carried a flawed story, it says, and then when things went wrong "blamed everyone else and refused to consider that they might be in the wrong".

The Independent believes Lord Hutton will focus most on those who dealt most directly with Dr Kelly.

Lord Hutton would be right to attend to those who had most responsibility for dealing with Dr Kelly
The Independent
That means Mr Gilligan - who "came in for a particularly hard time" in the closing speech of the inquiry's counsel James Dingemans QC - and the lower echelons of the MoD.

"Lord Hutton and Mr Dingemans have taken a consistently dim view of the ministry's failure to give Dr Kelly the support to which an employee is entitled," it says.

The Guardian is less interested in where Lord Hutton will pin the blame for Dr Kelly's tragic death, than in calling for a separate inquiry into the decision to go to war with Iraq.

"His report will still be an unsatisfactory surrogate for the inquiry we should still have into a war we should not have fought," it said.




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