Blair pleads for 'respect and restraint' over Kelly death

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Tony Blair said today that the death of weapons expert Dr David Kelly was "an absolutely terrible tragedy".

He said that while an independent inquiry sought to establish the facts surrounding his death "politicians and the media alike should show some respect and restraint".

Mr Blair, in Tokyo making a speech to business leaders during a round-the-world diplomatic marathon, told PA News: "I'm going to make a short statement and I don't intend to say anything more about this issue.

"This is an absolutely terrible tragedy. I'm profoundly saddened for David Kelly and for his family. He was a fine public servant who did an immense amount of good for his country in the past and I'm sure would have done so again in the future.

"There is now, however, going to be a due process and a proper and independent inquiry and I believe that should be allowed to establish the facts.

"And I hope we can set aside the speculation and the claims and the counter-claims and allow that due process to take its proper course.

"And in the meantime all of us, the politicians and the media alike, should show some respect and restraint. That's all I intend to say."