- A majority of voters thinks the Hutton report on events
leading to the death of Dr David Kelly is a "whitewash", a YouGov
poll for The Telegraph says today.
- The public expressed doubts about the report's one-sided
verdict, which savaged the BBC while exonerating the Government, as Tony
Blair claimed a second scalp with the resignation of Greg Dyke, the BBC's
director-general. He also secured an "unreserved" apology from
the corporation's governors.
- The survey found that 56 per cent of people interviewed
said Lord Hutton, as a member of the Establishment, was too ready to sympathise
with the Government.
- Only 34 per cent thought his report represented a thorough
and impartial attempt to discover the truth about Dr Kelly's death.
- After the BBC suffered the most traumatic 24 hours in
its history, the poll shows that the corporation is still trusted more
than the Government.
- YouGov found that 67 per cent trust BBC news journalists
to tell the truth, compared with 31 per cent who trust the Government.
- The finding is a blow to the Prime Minister, who had
hoped that the report would enable him to rebuild trust, badly damaged
by the controversy over the Iraq conflict.
- He called a halt to his eight-month war with the BBC
after what amounted to an unconditional surrender by the corporation's
- Sir Christopher Bland, a former BBC chairman, said Lord
Hutton had whitewashed the Government and "tarred and feathered the
- Lord Rees-Mogg, a former vice-chairman of the BBC board,
said the report was a "bad bit of work". Clare Short, who resigned
from the Cabinet over the war, described it as "completely one-sided".
- Mr Dyke resigned after Downing Street and Alastair Campbell,
Mr Blair's former communications chief, pressed for more heads to roll
at the BBC.
- Officials made clear that Mr Blair was not satisfied
with the resignation of Gavyn Davies, the chairman of governors, or a qualified
apology issued by Mr Dyke immediately after Lord Hutton had criticised
the BBC's management from top to bottom.
- Mr Dyke offered his resignation to the governors on Wednesday
but was "disappointed" when they made clear that they would accept
- After Mr Dyke announced that he was going, Lord Ryder,
the corporation's acting chairman and a former Tory MP, said: "On
behalf of the BBC I have no hesitation in apologising unreservedly for
our errors and to the individuals whose reputations were affected by them."
- There were emotional scenes at the BBC Television Centre
when he said farewell and staff around the country staged protests. In
an email to employees, he confirmed that he did not want to go but acknowledged
that the BBC needed a new start. He urged staff not to be cowed and said
his aim had been to defend the corporation's editorial independence.
- Interviewed later, he said he did not regret backing
Andrew Gilligan's report that led to the whole affair by accusing the Government
of "sexing up" its dossier on Iraq's weapons. But he admitted
"it was not as accurate in places as it should have been".
- Mr Dyke, who was criticised as a Labour "crony"
when he was appointed four years ago, said he felt justified in "going
to the barricades because [Mr Campbell] attacked us for having an anti-war
agenda and accused many of the BBC's journalists of being liars".
- Welcoming the BBC's apology, Mr Blair said that all he
had ever wanted was the withdrawal of the serious accusation of deceit
and duplicity made against him.
- He fully respected the BBC's independence. "I have
no doubt that the BBC will continue as it should do to probe and question
the Government in every proper way. What this does now is allow us to draw
a line and move on."
- Downing Street said Mr Blair regarded Mr Davies and Mr
Dyke as "honourable and decent men who had done the decent and honourable
- Mr Campbell, who launched an intemperate attack on the
BBC after being accused of "sexing up" the Iraq weapons dossier,
accepted that the affair was over. All he had wanted was the stain on his
character removed, he said.
- The departure of the BBC's two top executives has left
it rudderless as it prepares to renegotiate the renewal of its charter.
No 10 said it hoped to appoint a new chairman of governors by Easter and
that the post would be advertised.
- A new director-general will then be appointed by the
governors. Mark Byford, the deputy director-general, will step in temporarily.
- Richard Sambrook, who had been expected to go, will keep
his job as the head of news, his staff were told.