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  Why we went to war

Lord Hutton to withdraw report, apologise to BBC

Lord Hutton is to withdraw his report into the death of Dr David Kelly, absolve the BBC of any blame, and apologise to the Corporation, DeadBrain has learned.

Lord Hutton's move follows the formal withdrawal by the chief of the Secret Intelligence Service of the claim that failed dictator Saddam Hussein™ had weapons of mass destruction that could be used within 45 minutes of an order being given. That claim was central to the row last year between the BBC and the government, which was a direct cause of the death of Dr Kelly and the ensuing Hutton Inquiry. The Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, announced the withdrawal of the 45 minute claim earlier today.

The Hutton Report had found the government entirely blameless for anything, and put the full blame for all that has gone wrong with Britain's involvement in the Iraq fiasco, as well as with the weather, the pound and English football, on the BBC. However a spokesman for Lord Hutton said that his lordship now accepts that his conclusions were based on incomplete and incorrect evidence, and that as a result he had asked Mr Blair to withdraw the report and issue a retraction. He said that Lord Hutton wished to apologise sincerely and unreservedly to the BBC, and especially to its former Director General Greg Dyke and reporter Andrew Gilligan for any personal inconvenience the report caused them. He added that his lordship is now of the opinion that the BBC in no way erred in its reporting on Iraq and WMDs.

Alastair Campbell, the former chief spin doctor for Tony Blair and a key figure in the affair, is also understood to have offered his abject apologies, at one point going on his knees and begging forgiveness and promising not to call Mr Gilligan names ever again. However, it is believed that a photographer who attempted to take a picture of that was told that if he persisted he would get his camera shoved up his arse. DeadBrain cannot substantiate that.

Lord Snooty, political correspondent for The Beano and chairman of Peers R Us, a support group for lords with not much to do and too much time in which to do it, told our reporter that this kind of retraction was, to the best of his knowledge, unprecedented. He expressed alarm that it could lead to the erosion of confidence in Britain's lords and the possible loss to them of lucrative remits to head government inquiries in the future.

In related news, on hearing the news of the retraction US President "Boy" George W. Bush apparently telephoned Tony Blair to ask why he had a foreigner as his secretary, citing the possible security risk.

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