FOREIGN SECRETARY'S STATEMENT ON THE FAC REPORT

7th JULY 2003 : Checked Against Delivery The Foreign Affairs Select Committee decided to hold this inquiry following a number of reports including that of the BBC on 29th May by Andrew Gilligan . The central and most damaging allegation against the Government - that we that we inserted the 45 minutes intelligence into the dossier, whilst knowing it to be untrue, and against the wishes of the Intelligence Agencies - has been shown to be false . Not a single Committee member having heard all the evidence both publicly and privately has found that the BBC's central and damaging allegation was true. Quite the reverse . Even Sir John Stanley has just said that on the most damaging allegation of all against Alastair Campbell, the BBC was wrong. I believe the BBC should now apologise . And I note that even the BBC Governors in their statement last night did not defend the accuracy of this claim . The BBC should I believe now have the grace therefore to acknowledge that they got it wrong . This has never been an attack on their independence nor of their coverage of the war . It is about one story, that was however a fundamental attack on the integrity of the Prime Minister and of this Government. And the question the BBC have to answer today remains the same as it has been for over a month: are the allegations which they made on the 29th May true or false? They are false .
As the Foreign Affairs Committee has said, the September dossier was probably as complete and accurate as the Joint Intelligence Committee could make it. The Foreign Affairs Committee said that they had no doubt that the threat posed to UK forces was genuinely perceived as a real and present danger and that the steps taken to protect them were justified by the information available at the time.

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