An admission of guilt

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Tony Blair made an unexpected admission in an interview on BBC2's Newsnight this week. When asked a question about Dr David Kelly, the weapons inspector who committed suicide, the Prime Minister said: "It was a terrible, terrible thing to have happened. I don't believe we had any option however, but to disclose his name, because I think had we failed to do so, that would have been seen as attempting to conceal something."

Tony Blair made an unexpected admission in an interview on BBC2's Newsnight this week. When asked a question about Dr David Kelly, the weapons inspector who committed suicide, the Prime Minister said: "It was a terrible, terrible thing to have happened. I don't believe we had any option however, but to disclose his name, because I think had we failed to do so, that would have been seen as attempting to conceal something."

This directly contradicts what Mr Blair said when the news emerged that Dr Kelly had killed himself. Asked if anyone in Downing Street had released Dr David Kelly's name to the press, Mr Blair responded: "Emphatically not. I did not authorise the leaking of the name of Dr Kelly."

This is not the first time that the Prime Minister's initial denial has been shown to be less than truthful. It emerged during the Hutton inquiry that Mr Blair had, in fact, chaired a meeting in which the cynical strategy to get Dr Kelly's name out into the public arena was devised. But this is the first time that the Prime Minister has publicly admitted to his role in the affair.

It is important to remember that the outing of Dr Kelly's name set off a chain of events which resulted in the suicide of a distinguished civil servant. Voters must now decide how this admission will effect their judgement on the Prime Minister's honesty.

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