Royal Courts of Justice: BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan has admitted he made a mistake during reporting of his story about the "sexed up" Iraq dossier and errors of judgement following its publication, the Hutton Inquiry heard today.

However Gilligan, who was appearing for his second time before the inquiry into the events surrounding the apparent suicide of scientist Dr David Kelly, said his story had been fundamentally correct.

Mr Gilligan said that referring to Dr Kelly as a member of the intelligence services had been an error.

"It was a kind of slip of the tongue that does happen often during live broadcasts," he said.

And he conceded that the 6.07am radio report in which he made the mistake should have been scripted.

The BBC defence correspondent also admitted he had been wrong to make the assertion in one of his broadcasts that the Government had known that the intelligence about the 45 minute claim was wrong before they had inserted it into the dossier.

He conceded that he had not intended to accuse the Government of dishonesty but admitted his radio report may have conveyed that impression to the public.

Mr Gilligan also told the inquiry that Dr Kelly had agreed to be described in his story as one of the senior officials in charge of drawing up the dossier.

However the government's QC Jonathan Sumption, during cross-examination said that he was "puzzled" that Gilligan would suggest to Dr Kelly that he should agree to being described in that context when the scientist hadn't mentioned anything of that description before.

"Mr Kelly was not a man into whose mouth you could put words," Mr Gilligan said in defence.

Mr Gilligan said he was wrong to have sent an email to an MP on the Foreign Affairs Committee outlining what questions to ask Dr Kelly. He also conceded it was wrong in that email to have named the weapons expert as the source of a report by BBC reporter Susan Watts.

"I did not even know Dr Kelly was Susan Watts's source. I was under an enormous amount of pressure at the time and I simply was not thinking straight."

The corporation's director of news, Richard Sambrook, slammed the email sent by Mr Gilligan to a member of the FAC as "improper", during evidence given this afternoon.

He added that he had not endorsed it and nor had anyone else to his knowledge within the BBC.

The BBC chief of news also criticized Mr Gilligan's presentation of stories.

"In My view Andrew Gilligan is extremely good at finding out information but there are sometimes questions of nuances and subtlety in how he presents it which are not all they should be." He added that Mr Gilligan was a "reporter who paints in primary colours rather than something more subtle."

Mr Sambrook admitted that no lawyers were contacted about Mr Gilligan's Iraq dossier story before the report was broadcast.