Scientist told MPs Government was unwise to include 45-minute claim

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Indy Politics

Dr David Kelly told a private meeting of MPs the Government was "unwise" to claim Iraq could deploy chemical and biologicial weapons in 45 minutes. But he also told the session of the Intelligence and Security Committee he had not informed Andrew Gilligan last September's dossier had been "transformed".

Dr Kelly's evidence to the ISC was revealed yesterday when Ann Taylor, the committee's chairwoman, gave evidence to the Hutton inquiry. Mrs Taylor, a former cabinet minister, also made clear she had refused to be "bounced" into a Downing Street plan to reveal an MoD official had admitted he was Mr Gilligan's source.

The committee's transcript of evidence from Dr Kelly will not be published until it concludes its investigation this autumn, but sections were briefly flashed on the inquiry's computer screens. They revealed Dr Kelly had departed from his public evidence to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee to criticise the 45-minute claim.

He said he agreed with Hans Blix, the UN's chief weapons inspector, that Britain had been "unwise" to use the 45-minute point because it raised more questions than it answered. Unmovic analysts were uncertain to what it referred and he could not relate it to any weapons system. Dr Kelly also said he believed the claim had been inserted for "impact".

The scientist said he had not talked about the dossier with Mr Gilligan or claimed it had been "transformed" just before publication. Mrs Taylor said: "He did describe the dossier as accurate, as a fair reflection of the intelligence available at the time."