New Forest East

PRIME MINISTER – TOM KELLY – 14 January 2004

Dr Julian Lewis: For what reason his official spokesman Mr. Tom Kelly described Dr. David Kelly as a Walter Mitty character, in conversation with journalists?

The Prime Minister: This issue was covered in evidence to the Hutton Inquiry.

Dr Lewis: What a predictably courageous answer from the Prime Minister. But we do not really need Lord Hutton to tell us what is known already. Is it not known that the Prime Minister's official spokesman, Tom Kelly, smeared Dr. David Kelly as a Walter Mitty character 48 hours before his body had even been buried, that the No. 10 press office falsely denied that that had been done until the prospect of a tape recording's being produced made them admit to it, and that at the Hutton Inquiry itself, Tom Kelly said that he had been drawn into a conversation that he had initiated? Why was it right for Jo Moore to go, but for Tom Kelly to stay?

The Prime Minister: First, my official spokesman unreservedly apologised to Dr. Kelly's widow and her family. That is on the record, and the evidence about it was given to the Hutton Inquiry. When the hon. Gentleman says that we do not need the Hutton Inquiry to tell us about this, we know exactly where the Conservative party is heading. The Conservatives are determined to try to ignore the findings of that inquiry. Once again, we should leave it to the judge who looked into all these issues, including the one that has just been raised.

[For further developments, click here.]