Campbell: 'I told the truth. The BBC, from the chairman down, did not'

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Alastair Campbell has launched a venomous attack on the BBC management, demanding that several heads roll at the corporation in the light of Lord Hutton's conclusions from his inquiry.

In a strongly worded statement, Tony Blair's former spin doctor insisted he had acted honestly throughout the Kelly affair - contrasting this with the conduct of the BBC at the highest levels.

"What the report shows very clearly is this - the Prime Minister told the truth, the Government told the truth, I told the truth," he said yesterday. "The BBC, from the chairman and director general down, did not. Today, the stain on the integrity of the Prime Minister and the Government has been removed."

Lord Hutton concluded that Mr Campbell had made clear nothing should be inserted into the Iraq war dossier that went against the wishes of the Joint Intelligence Committee and that it was not improper for John Scarlett, the JIC chairman, to listen to Mr Campbell's suggestions on the dossier.

The law lord also described as "unfounded" the BBC broadcast in which Andrew Gilligan claimed Downing Street probably knew or suspected that the claim that Iraq could launch a deadly attack within 45 minutes was wrong.

Mr Campbell said he found it "hard to imagine a more serious allegation" than the assertion by Mr Gilligan over the 45-minute claim.

"It has led to months of sustained questioning of my honesty and integrity in Parliament and the media, and I am grateful to Lord Hutton for the clarity with which he has rejected the allegations against me," he said in a televised statement orchestrated by Downing Street.

Mr Campbell said the allegations - "a fundamental attack on the integrity of the intelligence agencies and the entire Government" - were so grave because they had been broadcast by an organisation with a reputation for accuracy and fairness.

There were often false reports in the media which the Government did not try to correct but these claims were "so wrong and so damaging they had to be challenged", he said.

"I no longer work for the Government, but I do feel compelled to say this - if the Government had faced the level of criticism that today Lord Hutton has directed to the BBC, there would clearly have been resignations by now, several resignations at several levels."

Mr Campbell, a former political editor of the Daily Mirror, said he had been "on both sides of the fence" as a journalist and government employee. He stressed there were "many good British journalists" but added: "Having been in both journalism and politics, I would say this: if the public knew the truth about politicians, they would be pleasantly surprised.

"If the public knew the truth about the way certain sections of our media operate, they would be absolutely horrified."

Mr Campbell's stream of protests to the BBC management over the Gilligan report and an aggressive appearance before the Foreign Affairs Select Committee raised the temperature in the dispute with the corporation.

He quit as Mr Blair's director of communications and strategy in August, although he repeated yesterday that his departure had "nothing to do with the events of last year".

Although the Downing Street machine - including Tony Blair's chief of staff, Jonathan Powell - emerged unscathed from the inquiry, Lord Hutton reserved some strong words for Tom Kelly, the Prime Minister's official spokesman, who described Dr Kelly as a "Walter Mitty" character in a conversation with Paul Waugh, deputy political editor of The Independent.

"The remark was a wholly improper one for Mr Kelly to make and he has apologised for it unreservedly," Lord Hutton commented.