Cameron pre-empts Grieve?
David Cameron rules out further inquiries into death of Dr David Kelly
Prime Minister David Cameron has ruled out further inquiries into the death of Dr David Kelly.
By Christopher Hope, Whitehall Editor
4:37PM BST 18 May 2011
Dr Kelly’s body was found in woods close to his Oxfordshire home in 2003, shortly after he had been revealed as the source of a BBC report questioning the accuracy of a Government dossier arguing the case for war in Iraq.
The Hutton Inquiry in 2004 found that Dr Kelly had committed suicide, and then-Justice Secretary Lord Falconer ruled the inquiry could take the place of an inquest in the coroner's court.
However a group of doctors have since campaigned for a full inquest, pointing out that Lord Hutton spent only half a day of his 24-day inquiry considering the cause of Dr Kelly’s death.
Sir Peter Tapsell, a senior Tory backbencher, asked Mr Cameron during Prime Minister’s Questions: “Now that there is to be an investigation into the abduction or murder of Madeleine McCann, isn’t there a much stronger case for a full investigation into the suicide or murder of Dr David Kelly?”
Mr Cameron said while he welcomed the Metropolitan Police review into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, he was not supportive of a similar move in the case of Dr Kelly.
David Cameron said the Hutton report into the Government weapons inspector's death had been “fairly clear”, adding: “I don't think it's necessary to take that case forward.”
He said: “On the issue of Dr David Kelly, I thought the results of the inquest that were carried out and the report into it were fairly clear and I don’t think it is necessary to take that case forward.”
The remarks appeared to catch the office of the Attorney General off-guard, with officials suggesting that nothing had change. A spokesman for Mr Grieve’s office said he would announce “in due course” whether he will ask the High Court to order an inquest.
She said: “The Attorney General is still considering representations made and we will be making a decision in due course.
“He has not consulted any of his Cabinet colleagues on the issue and is undertaking the review in his public interest role. He is still considering the material and the representations made and will make his decision in due course.”
Dr Michael Powers, one of the doctors campaigning for the inquest, accused Mr Cameron of intervening in a decision which had to be determined “in law”.
He said: “It is remarkable that the PM should give his opinion on this matter, namely that he thinks previous inquiries into the death of Dr David Kelly are sufficient.
“It is a matter of law as to whether the inquiry of Lord Hutton was sufficient. It is for the Attorney General to consider all the evidence which has been placed before him and to reach a decision which can be justified in law.
“In short, whether or not there should be a fresh inquest into the death of Dr Kelly is a matter of law and not of politics.”
Last summer Mr Grieve signaled he was prepared to intervene in the controversy, admitting that those who doubted his suicide “may have a valid point”.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Mr Grieve said he hoped to settle any concerns about the government scientist’s death to “give the public reassurance”.