- Tony Blair was plunged into the biggest crisis of his
premiership last night after a leading Ministry of Defence adviser who
became caught up in No 10's vitriolic battle with the BBC was found dead
in woodland near his Oxfordshire home.
- Dr David Kelly had been named as the likely source of
the BBC allegation that the Government "sexed up" intelligence
reports on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
- His suspected suicide shocked Westminster and Whitehall
as the Government faced up to the prospect that Dr Kelly could have been
driven to his death by the attempts to identify him as the mole.
- His wife Janice told a friend that he was "very,
very stressed and unhappy about what had happened and this was really not
the kind of world he wanted to live in".
- Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative Party leader, demanded
that Mr Blair cut short his world trip and return to take charge of the
- Senior MPs said Alastair Campbell, the Prime Minister's
communications director, and Geoff Hoon, the Defence Secretary, could be
forced to resign if the Government was blamed for forcing Dr Kelly into
- Dr Kelly, 59, disappeared after going for a walk on Thursday
evening. A body was found yesterday morning. Police said the death was
"unexplained" but they were not seeking anyone else in connection
- Although a formal identification had not been made, police
said the body and clothing matched the description of Dr Kelly.
- Mr Blair was given the news as he flew to Japan after
receiving a hero's welcome from a joint session of the United States Congress.
As he stepped off the Boeing 777 in Tokyo he looked shaken. Officials said
he was "very distressed for the family".
- After he held hurried satellite telephone consultations
with ministers in London, the Ministry of Defence announced that an independent
judicial inquiry would be held into the circumstances leading to Dr Kelly's
death. It will be headed by Lord Hutton, a senior law lord and former lord
chief justice of Northern Ireland. The inquiry is expected to take about
six weeks and will be narrowly focused on the events surrounding Dr Kelly's
death, not the Government's use of intelligence material on weapons of
mass destruction before the Iraq war.
- Although Downing Street urged people not to rush to judgment,
attention was increasingly turning to Mr Campbell's role in the affair.
- The inquiry is certain to centre on how he and Mr Hoon
thrust Dr Kelly, a civil servant, into the spotlight.
- Dr Kelly had become caught up in a bitter and personal
battle that Mr Campbell was fighting with Andrew Gilligan, a BBC reporter.
- Mr Campbell, who flew back to London from Washington
last night, has denied the central charge that he was responsible for inserting
in an intelligence dossier on Iraq the claim that weapons of mass destruction
could be deployed at 45 minutes' notice.
- However, Mr Gilligan insisted that that was what he had
been told by a senior intelligence source who was an expert in weapons
of mass destruction.
- As the row intensified, the Ministry of Defence disclosed
that one of its weapons advisers had owned up to briefing Mr Gilligan.
In an unusual move, Mr Hoon challenged the BBC to confirm whether he was
- After Dr Kelly's name was leaked to the press he came
under intense media scrutiny.
- On Tuesday he was called to give evidence before the
Commons foreign affairs select committee, which has been investigating
the way in which the Government used intelligence material in the approach
to the war.
- Friends said he was angry and deeply unhappy about the
way he was questioned by the MPs. Dr Kelly said he was not the source and
the committee concluded that he probably was not. The MPs criticised the
Ministry of Defence for using him as a "fall guy".
- Richard Ottaway, a Conservative member of the committee,
said that spin doctors had used Dr Kelly as a distraction from the row
over weapons of mass destruction. He said that political machinations could
have resulted in Dr Kelly's death.
- © Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2003.