MP had been 'utter bastard', daughter was told

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Indy Politics

Dr David Kelly descsribed an MP as an "utter bastard" after he was questioned in public by a Commons committee, his daughter said yesterday.

Rachel Kelly told the Hutton inquiry her father was "traumatised" by the prospect of his televised appearance before the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee and found the hour-long session "very, very hard".

She revealed his anger in an apparent reference to Andrew Mackinlay, the Labour MP who called the weapons expert "chaff" and "a fall guy", but said that Dr Kelly had not named the MP concerned.

She said: "Dad said it was very, very hard. Those were his words. I got the impression the questions had been quite tough. He did make a particular comment about one man, about the strength of his questioning ... I must admit I was surprised he said it.

"He said it very quietly, with some feeling, and that was that this man was an utter bastard, because of the nature - not the questions he asked but because of the manner in which he asked them.

"I hate to say that because I am very conscious that this gentleman has perhaps had some adverse publicity since, and I would hate to inflict any more on him."

Ms Kelly, 30, who works for the RSPB, told the inquiry that her father had become increasingly tired and withdrawn in the weeks leading up to his apparent suicide. "I was conscious of a change in him. He seemed to really need me as a daughter ... there was a need from him on an emotional level to see more of me."

She told the inquiry that he appeared to jump at the mention of Alastair Campbell, the Prime Minister's director of communications. She said: "I felt that I had intruded and he was very quiet, very pale and he just seemed to have the world's pressures on his shoulders."

Dr Kelly's sister, Sarah Pape, a consultant plastic surgeon, told the inquiry that Dr Kelly had persuaded his relatives to back the war in Iraq despite their scepticism.

She said: "In discussions we have had since my brother's death, we have realised that each of us changed our mind before the war started because of individual conversations we had with my brother."

"I was very surprised when he was absolutely and utterly convinced that there was almost certainly no solution other than a regime change, which was unlikely to happen peaceably and regrettably would require military action to enforce it."

Mrs Pape said: "He did not reveal any secret information, I do not remember any vast detail, but he was utterly convincing of the fact that we had to deal with this situation. We could not allow this situation to go on and then be wise after the event."

Ms Kelly's fiancé, David Wilkins, said Dr Kelly was calm during his stay at the couple's house, and was "reasonably well" when he left on the Wednesday before his death.

Professor Roger Avery, who knew Dr Kelly for more than 30 years, said he spoke to the scientist during two brief telephone calls after Dr Kelly and his wife fled to Cornwall, but said it was "difficult to judge" his friend's state of mind.