Doctors slam Cameron for opposing Dr Kelly inquest
But PM's intervention may boost legal action to force investigation into Iraq weapons expert's suicide
David Cameron yesterday pre-empted the results of a review of evidence into the suicide of the Iraq war whistleblower Dr David Kelly in 2003, saying that he is satisfied there is "no need to take the case forward".
Attorney General Dominic Grieve is currently considering evidence provided by a group of doctors campaigning for an inquest to be held into the death of the Iraq weapons inspector.
Kelly's body was found in woods near his Oxfordshire home shortly after he was unmasked as the source of the BBC's report into the so-called 'dodgy dossier' that was used to support the case for war in Iraq.
No inquest was held after the 2004 Hutton Inquiry found nothing suspicious about his death. But the group of doctors believe the circumstances are suspicious: they say the painkillers taken by Dr Kelly could not have killed him and claim there were no fingerprints on the five personal items found near his body.
Yesterday, Cameron said in Prime Minister's Questions: "On the
issue of Dr David Kelly, I thought the results of the inquest that were carried out and the report into it were fairly clear. I don't think it's necessary to take the case forward."
Dr Michael Powers, one of the group calling for an inquest, seized on Cameron's intervention, saying it was not a "political" matter and Cameron should not have made a public pronouncement on it.
Powers said: "It is remarkable that the PM should give his opinion on this matter... It is a matter of law as to whether the inquiry of Lord Hutton was sufficient.
"It is for the Attorney General to consider all the evidence which has been placed before him and to reach a decision which can be justified in law. In short, whether or not there should be a fresh inquest into the death of Dr Kelly is a matter of law and not of politics."
According to the Daily Mail, the doctors believe the Prime
Minister's intervention could be a blessing in disguise: if the
Attorney General dismisses their evidence, they believe it will boost their proposed legal challenge to that decision on the basis the Cameron pre-judged its outcome.
Cameron was forced into making his remarks by a mischievous question from one of his own backbenchers. Sir Peter Tapsell seized on Cameron's intervention last week to secure a review of the evidence into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann – which some disgruntled Tories saw as a shabby PR exercise – to ask about Dr Kelly.
He said: "Now that there is to be an investigation into the abduction or murder of Madeleine McCann, isn't there a much stronger case for a full investigation into the suicide or murder of Dr David Kelly?"
Doorstepped by ITN, Dominic Grieve seemed to join Cameron in pre-empting his own findings, telling the reporter: "I have absolutely no reason to think – and there is not a shred of evidence to suggest – that there has been some cover-up."