Cherie: 'Impossible' to omit Kelly death from memoirs

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Indy Politics

Cherie Blair today responded to criticism from Dr David Kelly's family by saying it would have been "impossible" to write her memoirs without including information about the Government adviser's death.

Mrs Blair also said she would not be leaving the legal profession following calls for her to resign over the publication of the book.

Speaking on BBC Radio Four's Woman's Hour, Mrs Blair said the book was simply a chance for her to speak for herself after spending 13 years as the wife of the leader of the Labour Party.

In her memoirs, published today, Mrs Blair wrote about her husband Tony's "shock" on learning of Dr Kelly's death and how the couple invited his widow to Chequers so they could say "how personally sorry they were about what happened".

Speaking to Woman's Hour presenter Jenni Murray, Mrs Blair said: "Well, David Kelly's death was a huge tragedy for the Kelly family first and foremost but ... to tell the story about being in Number 10 and not to mention David Kelly I think would be actually really impossible."

Yesterday, Derek Vawdrey, brother of Dr Kelly's widow Janice, told the Daily Mail Downing Street was responsible for his death and that Mrs Blair was using his suicide to bolster her husband's image.

He told the newspaper: "Cherie Blair should be ashamed of herself."

Mrs Blair said: "I'm sorry he feels like that but it's very much a part of the story.

"We met the Kelly family later and I really don't want to say any more about it than I said in the book."

Mrs Blair also faced criticism today from former judge Gerald Butler QC, who called for her resignation from the legal profession in the Evening Standard.

When asked if she was going to resign, Mrs Blair said: "I certainly won't."

She continued: "The law is very much an important part of my life. I enjoy the law and intend to continue to practise."

Response to Mr Butler's comments, Mrs Blair said: "I'm sad that he feels like that but I also think that today is the day the book is published so many comments about the book have been spoken only on the extracts.

"If anyone reads the book I don't think they would draw that conclusion from it."

She added: "One of my motivations in writing the book is, for the last 13 years really, since Tony became leader of the Labour Party, many people have written about me, have spoken about me but I have not spoken for myself. For me it was a time to look back on the last 50 years."