Prime Minister's question time

Today, Tony Blair gives evidence to the Hutton inquiry. Witness after witness has pointed to Number 10's role in events leading to David Kelly's death. Time, then, for answers.
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Geoff Hoon, Defence Secretary

The Defence Secretary said yesterday - day 10 of the inquiry - Tony Blair approved the decision to force Dr Kelly to face questioning from the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. The decision to issue a statement revealing an MoD official had admitted talking to Andrew Gilligan was taken by Mr Blair and others in Downing Street on 8 July. The idea of revealing Dr Kelly's name in a letter to the BBC came from Jonathan Powell.

Questions arising: How exactly did the Prime Minister approveforcing Dr Kelly to go before MPs in public? What was his role in the meeting on issuing the press statement givingclues to the scientist's identity?

John Scarlett, Head of Joint Intelligence Committee

Mr Scarlett, appearing on day nine, did his best to defend Downing Street from charges it had interfered with his work. But he admitted accepting changes from Alastair Campbell to the dossier that "strengthened'' its language. He also wrote a note of meetings in Downing Street on 7 and 8 July. In one, he said there had been a discussion with Mr Blair in which it was said issuing a press release could put Dr Kelly under "wider pressure".

Questions arising: What did Mr Blair understand by the phrase "wider pressure''? What was his response to this point?

Jonathan Powell, Downing Street chief of staff

Mr Powell, who gave evidence on day five of the inquiry, wrote an e-mail last September during the frenzied compilation of the dossier supporting the Government's case for war. It injected a note of caution. He made clear he felt there was no evidence to suggest Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat and no one should use the dossier to portray him as such. In another e-mail, he said Iraq did not pose a threat to UK interests "at the moment", a phrase he underlined. Yet Mr Blair wrote a foreword to the dossier that referred to a "current and serious threat".

Questions arising: Why did Mr Blair argue as he did despite Mr Powell's advice on the lack of evidence for an "imminent" threat? Why did he feel justified in saying the threat was "current and serious"?Did Britain go to war on a flawed prospectus, based on inadequate intelligence or mishandling of intelligence by the Government, as Dr Kelly appears to have felt?

Sir David Omand, Downing Street security and intelligence co-ordinator

Sir David said on day nine Tony Blair accepted his idea of giving Dr Kelly's name to the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), although he had not consented. "It was a matter of intense interest and concern to the Prime Minister," he said. Dr Kelly had an obligation to drop his anonymity because of the "very great damage" he had done to the Government's credibility. Mr Blair had told him that putting Dr Kelly before the ISC would lead to his public exposure. It had been agreed that using the ISC would be an "orderly and measured way" of going public. He added: "The Prime Minister said to me that he had some doubts as to whether the Foreign Affairs Select Committee ... wouldn't insist on seeing Dr Kelly and in those circumstances it would be very difficult to refuse."

Questions arising: Should the Prime Minister not have ensured that Dr Kelly was prepared to allow his name to be passed to a third party? Should the Government have taken more care to ensure the scientist could cope with the trauma?

Dr David Kelly, MoD scientist

On a taped recording of a conversation with the BBC reporter Susan Watts, played to the inquiry on day three, Dr Kelly said: "It [the 45-minute claim] was a statement that was made and it just got out of all proportion. They were desperate for information ... That was one that just popped up and it was seized on - and it was unfortunate that it was. Which is why there is an argument between the intelligence services and Cabinet Office-No 10." Reading from her shorthand notes, after the interview with Dr Kelly, Ms Watts also quotes: "It [the 45-minute claim] was a mistake to put in. Alastair Campbell putting something in there. Single source, not corroborated. Sounded good."

Questions arising: Did Tony Blair put pressure on the JIC to include in the September dossier additional evidence such as the 45-minute claim? Did he tell Alastair Campbell to do so? Why were the intelligence services not left to draw up the dossier themselves?

Tom Kelly, Tony Blair's official spokesman

Mr Kelly's evidence on day seven suggested that No 10 had played an instrumental, albeit surreptitious, part in exposing Dr Kelly. An e-mail from Mr Kelly to Jonathan Powell read: "This [the naming of Dr Kelly] is now a game of chicken with the Beeb. The only way they will shift is if they see the screw tightening." After Dr Kelly's death, he described him to an Independent reporter as a "Walter Mitty-style fantasist".

Questions arising: Did Tony Blair approve an undercover attempt to get Dr Kelly's name into the public arena? Did he authorise the blackening of his name? If not, what action does he intend to take?

Sir David Manning, Former foreign policy adviser at No 10

Sir David, who gave evidence on day five, revealed a meeting, chaired by Mr Blair, at which the Prime Minister was told Dr Kelly would be re-interviewed by MoD officials. "The Prime Minister readily agreed because he didn't want to do anything precipitate and felt we needed to establish more closely what the connection was between Mr [Andrew] Gilligan and Dr Kelly," Sir David told the inquiry. He acknowledged the original story broadcast by the BBC defence reporter for the Today programme had provoked strong feelings within Mr Blair's inner circle.

Questions arising: Why was the Prime Minister chairing a meeting on a subject which should have been a matter for the MoD?

Did he consider the stress Dr Kelly was under when approving a second interview?

Andrew Mackinlay MP, Member of select committee

Asked on day nine of the inquiry whether the Government had co-operated with the committee's inquiry into the case for going to war with Iraq, he replied: "Absolutely not." He also doubted whether Dr Kelly had come forward of his own volition. "I do not buy this business of him [Dr Kelly] coming forward voluntarily. I think by this time the heat was on," he said.

Questions arising: Was Tony Blair in any way involved in ensuring the Foreign Affairs Select Committee did not receive full co-operation from the Government? If so, why? Was he involved in putting the "heat" on Dr Kelly?

Sir Kevin Tebbit, Permanent Secretary, MoD

Sir Kevin, who appeared on day seven, revealed that he had been told by Sir David Omand that the Prime Minister on the weekend of 5-6 July was "following this very, very closely indeed ... the implication was he wanted to do something about it." When asked what the implication was, Sir Kevin replied: "That he did want something done about this individual coming forward."

Questions arising: Why did Mr Blair follow the spat between Mr Campbell and the BBC so "very, very closely." What did he "want done" about Dr Kelly? Did he want Dr Kelly to be prepared, to ensure that he would undermine Mr Gilligan's story?

Martin Howard, Deputy chief of defence intelligence

Contradicting No 10's insistence that it was not involved in the naming of David Kelly, Mr Howard, who gave evidence on day four, revealed comments by Sir David Omand "which recorded the Prime Minister's views that before we decided what are the next steps that should be taken [over Dr Kelly], it would be sensible to get into a bit more detail". Tony Blair also appears to have been consulted on whether Dr Kelly should appear before the Foreign Affairs Committee. He quotes a memo from Peter Watkins, Geoff Hoon's private secretary, which said Mr Hoon agreed to the committee's request to hear evidence from Dr Kelly. It added: "I understand that No 10 would be content with this approach."

Questions arising: Why did Mr Blair get involved with what should have been an internal personnel matter at the MoD? What was the extent of his involvement?

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