More than six months after the exiled Russian and new British citizen Alexander Litvinenko died of radiation poisoning in London, the then Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, announced the expulsion of four Russian diplomats.
In so doing, he stressed the “horrifying and lingering” nature of his death and the method, which “had put hundreds of others at risk”. Given that there is no doubt about either contention, it seems strange, verging on perverse, that Mr Miliband’s successor, William Hague, is trying to prevent intelligence agents testifying at the belated inquest – either publicly, or at all.
One solution might be a compromise similar to the one that allowed security officers to testify at the 7/7 inquest. Anonymity and screens are second-best; justice needs to be transparent. But such testimony is better than none. If the UK intelligence aspect is excluded, the whole validity of this inquest is called into question.