The Sketch: No dissent? It means they're all in on it

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The Independent Online

Talking about "the spiral of speculation" as the Attorney General did when telling the House why he wasn't going to the High Court to apply for a proper inquest... what was that big lug Mike Penning doing there on the front bench? He's some sort of Transport minister – why was he attending a quasi-judicial statement on the death of David Kelly? There was no parliamentary need for him to be present but there he was, in far more elevated company than he's used to. You can call it a coincidence but only if you're credulous enough.

Did he have specialist knowledge of the flight plans of the helicopters on the day? Remember, just before – or possibly just after – the death there were three men in black who landed by helicopter and they were never accounted for. Penning has been in the army as well. Who knows what contacts he has in the security services.

Was he there to observe proceedings on behalf of his boss Norman Baker? That MP published a book when he was in opposition proving beyond doubt that he thought it was possible that Dr Kelly had perhaps not committed suicide in the conventional sense of killing himself.

Yes, his underling was there and he – Norman – was not. What did it mean? Tom Harris asked, "speaking of paranoid conspiracy theorists where is the Member for Lewes?" Thomas Docherty wanted to know if Baker's dissent would be tolerated by the Attorney General. The threat was only thinly veiled.

Most MPs welcomed the Attorney General's "clarity". Some few expressed reservations. Peter Bottomley said something in code, but he was clearly not a true believer, one way or the other. Tom Brake declared that "doubts will remain about the process followed," and added darkly "if not necessarily about the cause of death". Everyone knows what he meant by that. Otherwise, Tories stepped up to congratulate the Attorney General, and to confess themselves satisfied with his decision.

Richard Ottaway from the Foreign Affairs Committee said he'd known all along. Alan Beith was "wholly unpersuaded of any of the theories put forward as an alternative to suicide". Gisela Stuart reminded us she knew more about the subject that anyone in the House and that conspirators should think of the Kelly family. Bob Stewart hoped rumours of security involvement in the death would be "put to bed". And Andrew Miller hoped that the language in the report would be plain enough to deter future conspiracy theories. It was a solid majority in favour of the Attorney General. There's only one conclusion possible. They're all in on it.