The BBC journalist who accused the British government of exaggerating the evidence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction has acknowledged that words he used in a live broadcast had been 'a kind of slip of the tongue'.

At the Hutton Inquiry in London today, Andrew Gilligan accepted a number of criticisms of his original Today report, which sparked a row between the BBC and the British government.

He agreed it would have been better to have scripted the initial broadcast at on 29 May in which the government was accused of 'sexing up' the dossier and putting in intelligence it probably knew to be wrong .

The journalist admitted he made a mistake in attributing certain aspects to his source, now known to be Dr David Kelly.

The BBC's Director of News, Richard Sambrook, told the inquiry that MrGilligan 'painted in primary colours', and there were question marks over nuance and subtlety.

Richard Hatfield, the Ministry of Defence's director of personnel, was questioned about how Dr Kelly's breach of procedure was dealt with.

He said there was never a question of Dr Kelly's pension or security clearance being affected by the incident.