Wednesday, January 28, 2004


We must all accept the conclusions of the Hutton Report but there are many issues which the Report does not cover about whether or not weapons of mass destruction exist and what the Government told the country in the run up to war. There must surely now be an independent inquiry into these wider questions beyond Lord Hutton’s remit. The Report finds that on one level the September dossier was indeed “sexed up”. That is a very serious finding with grave implications for the reliance which can be placed on any published intelligence material in the future. Lord Hutton also concludes that the decision to issue the statement which said that a civil servant had come forward was taken by the Prime Minster at a meeting in No 10 Downing Street on 8th July. The consequence of that decision was that Dr Kelly was named, as Lord Hutton recognises. That is the issue which goes to the heart of the Prime Minister’s involvement in the issue. Lord Hutton can “cast no light” on the answers given by the Prime Minister to journalists on the plane about his role in that strategy. But it is clear that the most charitable interpretation about those remarks is that they are completely at odds with Lord Hutton’s conclusion that the press release authorised by the Prime Minister led to the naming. The Report paints a vivid picture of the way this Government conducts its business – from which it cannot emerge with pride. Lord Hutton states clearly that he has made criticisms of Government about the treatment of Dr Kelly and hopes it takes note of them. The Report’s findings about the BBC speak for themselves. I have always argued that the BBC Board of Governors cannot both run and regulate the BBC. There is now therefore an even stronger case for independent regulation of the BBC. There must also be a proper investigation into the disgraceful leak of the inquiry to The Sun. Only the police can conduct an investigation that will maintain the confidence of the public. I wouldn't dare speculate who might have leaked the report but it's quite clear who stood to gain from it. The laws od libel prevent me from going further!

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