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Last Updated: Thursday, 13 May, 2004, 12:23 GMT 13:23 UK
At-a-glance: Hutton's evidence
Lord Hutton has made his first public comments since he announced the findings of his inquiry into the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly.

Here are the main points of his evidence to the Commons public administration committee.

WAS THE INQUIRY'S REMIT TOO NARROW?

  • It was put to Lord Hutton that many thought it "inexplicable" that he had focused so narrowly on the 45 minute claim, rather than on the wider intelligence on Iraq.

  • He responded by saying it was clear the "real conflict" between Number 10 and the BBC came down to Andrew Gilligan's claim the government "probably knew" the 45 minute claim was false, said Lord Hutton.

  • That was the "major controversy" that arose in relation to Dr Kelly.

  • The retired law lord said he believes he could have asked for the terms of reference of his inquiry to have been changed but opted not to.

  • He said his view was that it was "not appropriate" for him to embark on a detailed scrutiny of the intelligence itself.

    ON THE BBC'S REACTION

  • Lord Hutton was asked about the corporation's response to his report.

    He said: "The BBC had to act on the criticisms I had made. I don't think it is for me to comment on what steps were taken by the BBC."

  • He said if he had made specific recommendations for the BBC he would have been criticised for "interfering in the freedom of the media and dabbling in matters which were not my concern".

    HUTTON ON BLAIR

  • Asked why he decided not to recall Mr Blair for cross-examination he replied: "If I had brought the prime minister back to be cross-examined I would have considered it as simply playing to the gallery."

    CRITICISM OF HIS CONCLUSIONS

  • Lord Hutton said he had reflected on his choices but he still believes he was right about his remit.

  • "I think it was inevitable that there would have been criticism and I expected it," he said.

  • Lord Hutton said it was not pleasant being attacked in the press but it was "too strong" to say he was shocked.

  • "But the duty of a judge is to decide on the issues before him without fear or favour and without having regard to the political consequences and without having regard to the comments that maybe made by editorial writers."

    LESSONS FOR FUTURE INQUIRIES

  • He said there was a risk judges conducting inquiries might have their professional reputations affected.

  • Lord Hutton said there might be some highly political disputes where it was not desirable for a judge to chair an inquiry.

  • He said he believed the public "saw the inquiry was conducted fairly and openly" but inevitably feelings over the war in Iraq coloured the response to his conclusions.

  • Lord Hutton acknowledged there might be advantages in having a tribunal of judges - instead of just one - presiding over an inquiry although it might slow the process down.

    THE LEAK OF HIS CONCLUSIONS

  • Lord Hutton said he was "very unhappy" his conclusions were leaked with the Sun newspaper.

  • An initial inquiry failed to discover the perpetrator and an investigation was ongoing into how future leaks could be avoided.




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