Gilligan moves off 'Today' to make documentaries

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The Independent Online

Andrew Gilligan has resumed his journalistic duties at the BBC but not at the Today programme, for which he reported claims about the Government "sexing up" the Iraq weapons dossier.

Mr Gilligan has been seconded to make documentaries for BBC Radio on current affairs, including defence and security matters. The first, about the Pakistani nuclear programme, is to be broadcast at the end of the year.

Colleagues of Mr Gilligan say making the move away from Radio 4's Today was jointly decided by him and BBC management. Whether the switch is permanent has yet to be decided.

The journalist has let it be known that, after his prolonged involvement with the Hutton inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly, he did not feel ready to return to day-to-day news reporting.

Both Mr Gilligan and the corporation's management are believed to have agreed that for him to continue as part of the Today team would be difficult while the programme prepares to cover the Hutton report - to be published in early January.

Mr Gilligan, officially still the defence and diplomatic correspondent of Today, keeps his current salary and other staff entitlements in his new post, which, colleagues say, he does not consider to be a demotion.

His colleagues believe he will be able to use his extensive contacts in the defence and diplomatic field to make documentaries without having to deal daily with government departments. The journalist and a number of Whitehall witnesses gave contradictory testimony at the inquiry.

After his bruising experience giving evidence to Lord Hutton, Mr Gilligan went on a delayed holiday to the Amalfi coast of Italy.

He is believed to have received highly lucrative offers from more than one publisher. But he is thought unlikely to write his account - with its inevitably contentious elements - if he continues to work for the BBC.

Most of the claims made in his report about the Iraq arms dossier were vindicated by evidence presented before Lord Hutton but the reporter admitted making mistakes in one of his bulletins.

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