Blair: I don't know if we'll find WMD

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Indy Politics

Tony Blair admitted yesterday that he did not know whether weapons of mass destruction would be found in Iraq.

Asked on BBC's Breakfast With Frost whether he thought they would be discovered, Mr Blair replied: "I do not know is the answer." The Prime Minister said that on the issue of WMD: "You can't be definitive at the moment about what has happened."

His words mark a stark contrast with his assertion before the war that Saddam Hussein was capable of launching a WMD attack within 45 minutes. He later said claims that Iraq had destroyed all its weapons were "palpably absurd".

Mr Blair, who is facing one of his most difficult months as Prime Minister, was also accused of preparing to "run away" from the findings of Lord Hutton's inquiry into the death of the weapons scientist David Kelly.

Mr Blair again refused to say whether he would face MPs in a full Commons debate on its conclusions or whether a vote would take place.

The Conservative leader, Michael Howard, said it was "absolutely extraordinary" that the PM had failed to give the commitment. But Mr Blair insisted: "I have no intention of hiding away from this. On the contrary, I am enthusiastic about at long last being able to debate these issues."