Wednesday 23 July 2003

BBC says it has a tape of Dr Kelly criticising Number 10

The BBC says it has a tape recording of David Kelly voicing serious concerns over the role of Downing Street in the disputed Iraq dossier.

The corporation is planning to submit the tape as evidence during the inquiry into the death of the weapons expert. Susan Watts, the science editor of Newsnight, recorded her conversations with Dr Kelly, parts of which were later broadcast anonymously as a "source", using the voice of an actor.

The report, which was broadcast on 2 June, suggested Downing Street had been "desperate" to find information to justify its stance on a war against Iraq. Referring to the claim Iraq could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes, the source said: "It was a statement that was made and it just got out of all proportion, They were desperate for information, they were pushing hard for information which could be released. That was one that popped up and it was seized on and it's unfortunate that it was.

"That's why there's an argument between intelligence services and the Cabinet Office and Number 10, because they picked up on it and ... you can't pull it back."

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