THE HUTTON INQUIRY: Former Spy Chief Scarlett Will Step out of the Shadows Next Week

Article excerpt

JOHN SCARLETT, one of the least-known but most influential figures in the establish-ment, will be thrust into the spotlight when the Hutton Inquiry reconvenes after the Bank Holiday.

Until last year, governments had refused even to confirm the identity of the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC). The practice changed when the former MI6 officer was appointed to the body that advises the Government on intelligence materialn.

That was as far as the new spirit of openness went and Mr Scarlett retreated to the shadows. But on Tuesday, as the author of the Government's September dossier that made the case for war, Mr Scarlett will undergo a forensic public cross-examination on its compilation. Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's director of communications, last week repeated the Government's insistence it brought no pressure on the JIC to toughen the dossier between drafts. He told the inquiry he had "no input, no output or influence" on the document, only advising on its presentation.

Mr Scarlett will be challenged on the truth of that and how it squares with the stream of e-mails from Downing Street discussing the tone and style of the planned dossier. …