Local MP Named in Kelly Inquiry
Clive Soley offered to help top spin doctor

It has emerged that local Labour MP and senior Labour politician Clive Soley contacted top spin doctor Alistair Campbell to offer his help in 'getting more active' in criticising the BBC and journalist Andrew Gilligan.

The phone call was revealed by Campbell, the Government's director of communications, as he was cross examined (19/08/2003) in the public inquiry into the death of MOD scientist David Kelly.

Reading from his diary Mr Campbell also revealed to the enquiry that Mr Soley, the chair of the parliamentary Labour party, had also rung him on June 26 saying he "wanted to get more active in this", and suggested he go public with a suggestion that the source - (Mr Kelly) at this point unknown - be interviewed privately by foreign affairs select committee chair Donald Anderson, so that, if necessary, Andrew Gilligan could be recalled.

This would appear to hint at concentrated party-political efforts to boost Mr Campbell's war with the BBC.

Mr Campbell attacked the BBC's reporting for "moving the goalposts" in not properly acknowledging that the foreign affairs select committee (FAC) had cleared him of inserting the 45-minute allegation.

Mr Campbell also claimed that releasing the scientist's name to the press, instead of playing a guessing game, was in contradiction to advice from the prime minister which saw the MoD being left to reveal his name as it saw fit.

The enquiry continues.

August 21, 2003