The Labour MP who suggested to Dr David Kelly he had been set up by the government as a "fall guy" has defended his questioning of the dead scientist.
Andrew MacKinlay grilling Dr Kelly
Andrew MacKinlay, who said he had since received hate mail, told the Hutton inquiry into Dr Kelly's death he thought it was a "fair question".
Three days after the grilling by Mr Mackinlay and colleagues on the Commons foreign affairs committee Dr Kelly was found dead, having apparently committed suicide.
The MP said he had felt angry for Dr Kelly, who had convinced him he was not the source for the BBC report that the government's dossier on Iraq weapons was exaggerated to make the case for war.
Mr MacKinlay also said he did not "buy this business of him (Dr Kelly) coming forward voluntarily" to admit talking to BBC correspondent Andrew Gilligan, for whose report Dr Kelly was the source.
Mr MacKinlay was first to take the stand on Tuesday as the inquiry entered its third week and was questioned about the way he grilled Dr Kelly suggesting he was "chaff" thrown up as a distraction.
He accused Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon of "monumental cheek" in asking the Commons foreign affairs committee to question Dr Kelly only for 45 minutes and not on the wider issues about weapons of mass destruction.
He also said he believed the Ministry of Defence was under a duty to inform
the committee as soon as they had the name of Dr Kelly.
"I don't believe they were really trying to find the source. They didn't want to discover Dr Kelly.
"They hoped this would burn out - fizzle out."
In discussing documents the committee had requested from the government but had been denied, Mr MacKinlay accused the government of doing everything it could to "obstruct
"They do not like scrutiny," he said.
The MP has already apologised to Dr Kelly's family about the questions he put during the committee hearing.
The MP faced fierce criticism in the days after the scientist's death for his aggressive style of questioning and he told the inquiry he had received hate mail.
In the statement, Mr MacKinlay said: "I deeply regret the death of Dr Kelly.
If there is any way that my questions contributed to his stress, I deeply regret
Dr Kelly had appeared controlled during the hearing, he said.
It was reasonable sometimes to put questions "in quite trenchant terms to see if a person gives a reaction", he said.
He told the inquiry: "The repeated showing of that narrow clip has resulted in a lot of hate mail - that clip does not inform, it misleads. I have not been able to hit back or defend myself."
Mr MacKinlay said he did not care about the row between Downing Street and the BBC but was more interested in locating the source who had said the government exaggerated the case for war.