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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 August, 2003, 16:39 GMT 17:39 UK
Day six: Key points
The sixth day of the Hutton inquiry into the events surrounding the death of Dr David Kelly saw Tony Blair's director of communications, Alastair Campbell, giving evidence.

Here are the key points:


The Iraq dossier

  • Mr Campbell said an original version of the dossier on weapons of mass destruction (WMD) had been dropped as it "wasn't a terribly good document overall" to put in the public domain.

  • Mr Blair decided a new dossier would be developed.

    [JIC chairman] John Scarlett felt that he had to have ownership of the dossier
    Alastair Campbell

  • Mr Campbell said Mr Blair saw Iraq as a unique threat and wanted to get that message across to the public.

  • In his diary entry for 3 September Mr Campbell wrote: "Why Iraq, why now?"

  • Mr Campbell said there had been another dossier commissioned several months earlier on the "general issues of WMD relating to four countries, one of which was Iraq".

    "At some time, I cannot recall exactly when, but a decision was taken effectively to drop that and then during August and into September there was a decision to do a WMD dossier exclusively on Iraq," he said.

  • Mr Campbell denied the reason the original dossier was dropped was because there was nothing new in it.

    I think there's material here we can work with but it's a bit of a muddle and needs more clarity in the guts of it in terms of what is new/old
    Godric Smith

  • Mr Campbell confirmed that a meeting on 5 September decided the Iraq dossier had to be "revelatory, new and informative".

  • He said he did not know if the document considered at the meeting on 5 September referred to the 45 minute claim

  • The chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), John Scarlett wanted "ownership" of the dossier, said Mr Campbell.

  • In a memo to Mr Scarlett, Mr Campbell said: "It goes without saying that nothing should be published that you and they are not 100% happy with."

  • The memo adds that Mr Campbell would chair a team to go through the dossier from a presentation point of view.

    The agreement was that John Scarlett would be in sole charge of the writing of the dossier and that we at Number 10 would give him whatever support he asked for
    Alastair Campbell

  • Mr Campbell said he had been assured by Mr Scarlett that senior intelligence figures were not unhappy with the government's approach despite numerous press reports citing unnamed sources.

  • The inquiry was then shown a letter from a former senior intelligence figure to Martin Howard - the deputy chief of defence intelligence at the MoD - which expressed reservations about the way intelligence assessments were being dealt with.

    Mr Campbell said he was unaware of the communication.

  • The draft dossier on Iraq was first shown to Mr Blair on 11 September.

  • In his diary on the same day Mr Campbell had written "the drier the better, cut the rhetoric" following his meeting with Scarlett.

  • But one of the prime minister's official spokesmen, Godric Smith, said: "I think there's material here we can work with but it's a bit of a muddle and needs more clarity in the guts of it in terms of what is new/old."

    There may well be people down the ranks who are unhappy with this but you have to know this is not the view of people at the top
    Alastair Campbell quoting John Scarlett

  • Downing Street special adviser Philip Bassett sent an email to Foreign Office press officer Daniel Bruce that they had a "very long way to go [with the dossier] I think. Think we are in lot of trouble with this as it stands now."

    Mr Campbell said he was unaware of such a communication.

  • Mr Blair was "very hands on" with the compilation of the foreword of the September dossier, said Mr Campbell.

  • Mr Campbell said a number of changes to the foreword were suggested by Mr Scarlett and were then incorporated.

    The 45 minute claim

  • Mr Campbell said he did not know where the reference to the 45 minutes found in the 11 September draft dossier had come from.

  • Mr Campbell was sent a further draft dossier on 17 September.

  • An email from Mr Powell dated 17 September said it was important it was made clear that Iraq could not at that moment attack the UK.

    Mr Campbell said the point was taken on board.

    I had no input, output or influence upon them whatsoever at any stage in the process
    Alastair Campbell on the 45 minute claim

  • Mr Campbell said that he had not influenced the drafting of the 45 minute claim.

    "I had no input, output or influence upon them whatsoever at any stage in the process."

  • A new draft of the Iraq dossier was sent to him on 10 September, said Mr Campbell. That draft contained the 45 minute claim.

  • Mr Campbell said he gave Mr Scarlett help with the dossier before the prime minister faced MPs to ensure the required "attention to detail" was included.

    He said the JIC chairman lacked the necessary experience or expertise for this kind of presentational exercise.

    Mr Campbell said he had been "meticulous" in his behaviour towards the agencies involved and "in relation to the drawing up of the dossier".

    Row with the BBC

  • Mr Campbell said there had been more complaints than normal to the BBC about the Iraq war coverage but it was unfair to say he made a "considerable" number of complaints.

  • He said that some of the BBC's coverage was the "best journalism there was".

    But he added that there was a perception that BBC viewers were sometimes given a sense of moral equivalence between the democratic Western governments and the Saddam regime.

  • Mr Campbell said Andrew Gilligan report that suggested the Iraq dossier had been sexed up by Number 10 was false and he issued a rebuttal.

    He said he realised it had the potential to do real damage both to Mr Blair personally and to the government as a whole and would be focused on by the press.

  • A report by BBC news correspondent Gavin Hewitt had been "of a different order of magnitude to the report by Mr Gilligan", said Mr Campbell.

    I still to this day find it extraordinary that anybody in the BBC can defend it
    Alastair Campbell

  • In his diary Mr Campbell said he had a "sense of a firestorm developing ... this was a story that went right around the world".

    "It was grim, it was grim for me, grim for TB and there is this huge stuff about trust."

  • A letter to the BBC's director of news, Richard Sambrook, from Mr Campbell which accused Mr Gilligan of "extraordinary ignorance about intelligence issues" was shown to the inquiry.

  • Mr Campbell said he found it "unbelievable" that allegations contained in Mr Gilligan's report were not first put to Downing Street.

  • A decision was taken for Mr Campbell to appear before the Commons foreign affairs select committee (FAC).

  • Mr Campbell said he had prepared hard for his appearance before MPs but that it had gone well because he had "opened a flank on the BBC".

    By accusing the BBC of "lying" he would force the corporation to defend itself in public, he said.

  • Former BBC director general John Birt told Mr Campbell the whole spat was terrible for the corporation because "everybody knew the story was wrong".

    Kelly identified

  • On 4 July Mr Campbell received a phone call from Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon to tell him that someone in the MoD - Dr David Kelly - had come forward and admitted meeting with Mr Gilligan.

  • Mr Hoon's initial response was that "it was serious and a serious disciplinary matter, and had clearly caused the government considerable difficulty and embarrassment".

  • Mr Campbell put the words "plea bargain" in his diary - he has said that doing a deal with the source was probably the only way to establish the truth.

  • At this point Mr Campbell said the approach remained to keep Dr Kelly's name private.

    He added that more time was needed to establish if he really was the source.

  • Mr Campbell said that in hindsight it would have been better to release Dr Kelly's name in a clean, straightforward way so he could be given the proper support to face the subsequent publicity.

  • Mr Campbell said that he had been party to discussions involving the prime minister on 8 July where making Dr Kelly's name public came up.

  • He said that he had no part in drafting the series of questions and answers prepared by the MoD in case journalists rang up and asked about the source's identity.

    The normal person to liaise on that for Number 10 would be Godric Smith, said Mr Campbell.

  • Mr Campbell was asked whether anyone had considered the effect of being named on Dr Kelly.

    He replied that what he knew of Dr Kelly, he was "a very strong resolute character, clearly of deep conviction and who had been in many difficult stressful circumstances".

    It had not "crossed anyone's mind" that events might take the turn they did.

  • To prove the allegations in Mr Gilligan's report false Dr Kelly had to appear before a parliamentary committee.

  • Mr Campbell said he did nothing to bring Dr Kelly's name into the public arena.

  • Asked about the comment by Number 10 official spokesman Tom Kelly comparing the row between the BBC and Downing Street to a game of chicken, Mr Campbell said that referred to the fact that eventually someone would have to back down.

  • Mr Campbell said he found it distressing that Dr Kelly had died in these circumstances.

    He added that everyone involved had thought deeply about the events that led to his apparent suicide.

    "I just find it very, very sad," he said.

    The inquiry adjourned until 1030 BST on Wednesday.




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