PM ’embroiled’ in Kelly tragedy

Prime Minister Tony Blair was briefed on the identity of the “mole” in the BBC report on the Government’s handling of Iraq “sexed up” intelligence one week before the name was made public by the Ministry of Defence, the Financial Times has reported.

Tropical weather in Hong Kong has forced the PM to curtail the last day of his five-day whirlwind trip to Asia.

He flew back last night to a political tempest over the apparent suicide of Iraq weapons expert Dr David Kelly, which has undermined the very House of Blair.

The microbiologist was found dead on Friday with one of his wrists slashed.

Breaking a basic axiom of journalism, the BBC named Dr Kelly last Sunday as the “source” in its story that the Government inflated the intelligence reports to justify the Iraq war.

Mr Blair emphatically denied on Tuesday that he had approved the naming of Dr Kelly as the “mole” in the BBC’s Iraq dossier story.

The Prime Minister told reporters: “I did not authorise the leaking of the name of David Kelly.”

Apparently inconsistently, Mr Kelly also told the Foreign Affairs Select Committee last Tuesday he could not have been the “mole.”

According to the FT, the PM is expected to tell Lord Hutton’s judicial inquiry into Dr Kelly’ suicide that on Thursday July 3 he informed the MoD it must continue its investigations into Dr Kelly’s role.

The FT says Mr Blair is expected to tell the inquiry that he told the MoD to thoroughly investigate the former weapons inspector.

In a serious charge, the FT says Mr Blair’s role can “now be placed firmly in the chain of events that led to Mr Kelly’s death last Friday.”