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British archbishop hits out at "silent" public figures

Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Birmingham has said he is deeply distressed at people "in positions of eminent public responsibility" choosing to "remain silent, believing that the confidentiality of their sources is more important" than the life of Government weapons expert David Kelly (pictured).

Dr Kelly, who was grilled by a UK Government committee last week, over alleged comments to a BBC reporter about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, took his own life on Friday.

Archbishop Nichols remembered Dr Kelly during his sermon at a Civic Service in Lichfield Anglican Cathedral yesterday.

"His death must also cause every one of us to reflect, especially those of us involved in public life." he said. "There is, in our country, something of an unholy alliance between the media and the politician."

"But today we must reflect again on the grave responsibilities to the truth that are to be upheld by all those so involved.

"When public life and the media are so devoid of compassion, and become cavalier with the truth, they become a distortion of their true purpose.

The BBC yesterday conceded that Dr Kelly was the main source for a report claiming that the Government had distorted, or "sexed up", intelligence supporting the war in Iraq. The BBC claims it reported Kelly's views accurately, while critics of the Corporation say its reporter had embellished what Dr Kelly had told him.

Independent Catholic News

Archdiocese of Birmingham | Archbishop
Who will take the blame? (The Independent)
BBC under fire as it admits Dr Kelly was source (The Guardian)
Reporter denies misrepresenting Kelly (BBC)

21 Jul 2003