8 NOVEMBER 2003, Page 42

Liddle errors

From The Revd Jonathan Jennings Sir: I hesitate to come between Rod Liddle and the wrath he wishes to visit on his successor as editor of the Today programme and on the BBC more generally. His column, though (Thought for the day, 25 October), displays a sufficiently cavalier way with the truth (a failing he purports to deplore) that it should not go unchallenged.

According to Mr Liddle (who seems unable even to get my name right), I lied when I said that no attempt was made to dissuade the Today programme from running the Iraq section of Dr Williams's Today programme interview and I was 'disingenuous' to say that Lambeth hadn't complained once the recording was made. In fact, no attempt of any kind was made to persuade the Today programme to edit the interview; nor did I ever claim that no protest was made after the recording. My complaint was that the BBC did not deal fairly in seeking an interview on one basis and conducting it on another entirely.

What is worrying, though, is not just that both accusations made by Mr Liddle are completely untrue (and a good deal more besides) but that he should have thought fit to offer such serious and personal slurs for publication in The Spectator without even subjecting them to the simple, responsible and, frankly, well-advised test of (don't laugh) a check call.

Yes, we have had problems with the Today programme over its conduct towards the Archbishop. In the light of Mr Liddle's current approach, however, I am beginning to understand where we might have been had he still been the programme's editor.

Jonathan Jennings

Archbishop's Press Secretary, Lambeth Palace, London SE1