ALASTAIR Campbell wanted to expose Government weapons expert David Kelly as the BBC's source on the Iraq weapons dossier, the Hutton Inquiry was told last night.

Extracts from the outgoing No 10 communication's chief's secret diary show that he believed making the scientist's name public would torpedo reporter Andrew Gilligan's story.

Mr Campbell, in his second appearance before the inquiry, said he had been "very, very angry and frustrated" about Mr Gilligan's report which claimed that he had "sexed up" the Iraq dossier to strengthen the case for war.

However, he said his idea of leaking Dr Kelly's details to a newspaper had been firmly quashed by Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Earlier, Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said that he had personally approved the plan for the MoD Press office to confirm Dr Kelly's identity to any journalist who came up with the right name.

The inquiry also heard that Mr Campbell failed to tell MPs on the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC) that he had suggested altering the wording on the controversial claim in the dossier that some Iraqi chemical and biological weapons could be deployed in 45 minutes.

The inquiry was set up to investigate how Dr Kelly apparently came to take his own life after being publicly identified as the source for Mr Gilligan's story.

Mr Campbell's diary contains repeated references to the fact that both he and Mr Hoon had been pressing for Dr Kelly's details to be made public. However, he said that Prime Minister Tony Blair had been "nervous" and "backed off" after consulting the Cabinet Office intelligence and security co-ordinator Sir David Omand.

In evidence to the inquiry, Mr Campbell acknowledged that he had seen Dr Kelly as key to securing an apology from the BBC for the allegations first broadcast by Mr Gilligan on the Radio 4 Today programme on May 29.

He acknowledged that on July 7 he had considered passing Dr Kelly's details - without naming him - to a newspaper, before the MoD had made a formal statement.

However, he said that the idea was opposed by Mr Blair as well as his two deputies, Godric Smith and Tom Kelly.

Mr Campbell was also accused of concealing from MPs that he had asked the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee John Scarlett to strengthen the language on the 45-minute point in the dossier.

However, counsel for the BBC, Andrew Caldecutt QC, said that he was well aware that he had made the suggestion because it was contained in a note sent to Mr Scarlett.

Mr Campbell rejected the allegation, saying he had not mentioned that 45-minute point because he had only been pointing up an inconsistency in the text, not requesting a change.

Earlier, Mr Hoon conceded that he had personally approved the decision to confirm Dr Kelly's identity to journalists who came up with the right name.

But, under cross-examination by counsel to the Kelly family, Jeremy Gompertz QC, he denied this was a deliberate strategy.

Mr Hoon insisted that he had not been aware that as part of a "question and answer" briefing, MoD Press officers had been told that they could say that Dr Kelly was a former UN weapons inspector who had recently been in Iraq.

He also said that he had not known that Tom Kelly had given further details about Dr Kelly's position at a briefing for political journalists.

"Learned counsel is suggesting that there was some sort of conspiracy right across Government for all these people to be involved in giving out small parts of information which he has concluded provided a picture. But there is just no evidence of that," Mr Hoon said.