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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 July, 2003, 22:07 GMT 23:07 UK
Recrimination in the air
BBC political correspondent John Pienaar talks to the Ten O'Clock News about the crisis following the death of Iraq weapons expert Dr David Kelly.

News: Tony Blair seemed pretty clear that we should wait for the official inquiry, but will the government and the BBC be able to wait until then to answer some of the key questions?

It is fair to say that when a government orders an inquiry like this it is to try to put out the fire, to try to stop the issue burning out of control, and to also demonstrate to the public that they don't feel they have anything to hide.

But there is certainly an air of recrimination in the air, a mood to name the guilty parties.

Those questions are going to continue long before Lord Hutton [appointed to conduct the inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Dr Kelly's death] comes up with his results.

Everyone will be feeling sympathy for Dr Kelly's family tonight, but some people are already asking 'who is to blame?'

The argument is running hot already. On one side there are those saying the government was desperately eager to rebut the anonymous accusations that Number 10 Downing Street hyped up the case for war and Dr Kelly was caught up in that crossfire.

On the other, there are those who are saying a committee of MPs decided that Dr Kelly was the source of those allegations so perhaps the BBC should have spoken out a little earlier on.

Where the public are concerned, I guess a lot of people will not have much time for fine ethical questions - whether it is a government defending its honour or a media organisation defending its sources.

A man has died and I expect there will be many people who have a lot of sympathy for him and his family and not too much left over for anyone else.




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