Govt PROs called to explain role in naming of Dr Kelly

Ministry of Defence head of news Pam Teare and Foreign and Commonwealth Office head of press John Williams are set to give evidence at the Hutton Inquiry this week.

While Williams was expected to take the stand yesterday (Thursday), Teare is scheduled for next week at the inquiry, set up to investigate the

circumstances surrounding the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly.

Both Williams and Teare are expected to be asked to explain their roles in the naming of Dr Kelly as the source of the BBC’s ‘sexed up dossier’ story.

Teare and others within the MoD press office have already defended the decision to name Dr Kelly, if his name was put to PROs. MoD armed forces PRO Paul Sykes said late last month that, ‘if we were given the correct name, we would confirm that.’ (PRWeek, 25 July).

A spokesman at the Department for Constitutional Affairs, which is handling media relations for the Inquiry, would not rule out other PROs being called, but added that full details of the witnesses for next week would not be finalised until Friday.

This could include the Prime Minister’s official spokesman Tom Kelly, who was forced to apologise for referring to Dr Kelly as a ‘Walter Mitty’ character (PRWeek, 8 August).

Others to have given evidence this week include MoD deputy chief of defence intelligence staff Martin Howard and BBC journalist Andrew Gilligan.

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