One version of notes did not name Campbell

Click to follow
Indy Politics

Two versions of the notes made by Andrew Gilligan in his interview with Dr David Kelly were produced before the Hutton inquiry yesterday - with only one of them naming Alastair Campbell as being responsible for "sexing up" the Iraq arms dossier.

One set of notes, a printout from the BBC journalist's personal organiser, had already been placed before the inquiry. But another set, seen for the first time yesterday, showed that the name "Campbell" was missing.

Mr Gilligan told the inquiry that the discrepancy had arisen because one set of notes was typed while he was initially talking to the late Dr Kelly at their meeting on 22 May, while the second was made at the end of the interview when he was checking quotations with the scientist, and adding further details. The name of Mr Campbell, the Prime Minister's director of communications and strategy, had come up then.

Mr Gilligan agreed to a request by James Dingemans QC, counsel for the inquiry, that his laptop, which contains a back-up of his notes, be examined to clarify the issue.

The journalist's notes also showed a passage Dr Kelly did not want reported. The scientist had said the "war was a tragic failure of diplomacy; there was no direct effort to engage Iraq. It was a football for everyone." Evidence so far had pointed to Dr Kelly being a "hawk" on the war.

Edward Wilding, a computer specialist, said the memos on the organiser were dated by the computer's clock and they were discovered to have been entered on 21 May. "Ostensibly that could look quite suspicious, but when I examined the computer's personal organiser currently used by Andrew Gilligan, I saw a considerable slippage of a day. It was out of kilter by a day," Mr Wilding said.

He said the clock was also out by one hour and 16 minutes and that the meeting with Dr Kelly had taken place at 4pm or 5pm, so that would mean the meeting should still have taken place on 22 May.

Lord Hutton asked Mr Gilligan why the name Campbell arose only at the end, when he was going through the notes with Dr Kelly. Mr Gilligan said Dr Kelly might have been going too fast so that he did not get it down the first time.