Poacher turned broadcaster: Campbell may join BBC

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The Independent Online

In his role as the Government's chief spin doctor, Alastair Campbell accused the BBC of spreading lies and using "weasel words and sophistry".

But now the corporation's sternest critic is being considered for a job at the broadcaster's Wood Lane headquarters.

The tough-talking former communications supremo provoked one of the biggest crises in the BBC's history after he refuted a report by Radio 4 Today reporter Andrew Gilligan that he had "sexed up" the Government's first dossier on Iraq.

The claims and counter-claims that followed the row plunged relations between the Government and the BBC to an all-time low, yet the avid Burnley football club supporter is now being considered for a position at Radio 5 Live - though on its sports programmes rather than its news bulletins. He may also be given television roles.

Nothing can be finalised until after the Hutton inquiry into the death of weapons inspector Dr David Kelly - which will address the row between Mr Campbell and the BBC - has published its report next month. Radio 5 Live sources said yesterday that Mr Campbell was seen as a perfect fit for the station.

"The feelers are out there," a spokeswoman said. "We've not officially approached him but he's done a couple of interviews for us. With 5 Live Goes to Parliament last week he answered a few listeners' questions and he's spoken on Brian Alexander's breakfast show."

Through the Downing Street press office Mr Campbell said he had had no contact with Radio 5 Live other than in response to requests for interviews.