Kaufman demands answers from BBC

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A senior Labour backbencher demanded answers from the BBC yesterday in a letter criticising its "labyrinthine" explanations over the Iraq dossier allegations.

Gerald Kaufman, chairman of the culture, media and sport select committee, wrote to Gavyn Davies, chairman of the BBC, to query a statement on behalf of the corporation's Board of Governors about its conduct over the allegations.

The governors said they had no plans to hold a special meeting following the death of David Kelly and reiterated that it was in the "public interest" to broadcast the disputed stories.

Mr Kaufman accused the BBC of contradiction claiming that the statement contained a series of inconsistencies in describing the source of the story as an "intelligence source".

The letter read: "The way in which the BBC Board of Governors has dealt with the issue of the nature of the information provided by Dr David Kelly to ... Mr Andrew Gilligan has today become even more confusing and labyrinthine.

"...It is essential that you answer with the utmost clarity the questions I put to you..."

Last week, Mr Kaufman had questioned Mr Davies on whether it was appropriate for Governors to take responsibility for the BBC's actions. Highlighting the same point in his letter, he wrote: "That question now needs to be raised more starkly than ever.

"The way this story has been pursued by the BBC and endorsed by the Board of Governors raises the most profound questions about the nature of the BBC as a public-sector, public-service, publicly-funded organisation. Those questions are not going to go away."

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