Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon says more could have been done to help weapons expert Dr David Kelly before his death.
Dr Kelly should have been kept more informed, says Hoon
In an interview for the Daily Telegraph Mr Hoon says Dr Kelly should have been told more about the prospect of his name hitting the headlines.
The government scientist killed himself after being named as the suspected source for a BBC story about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.
Mr Hoon says the Ministry of Defence did try to keep Dr Kelly informed.
The interview comes after a hard year for Mr Hoon, who says he realised he might have to resign over Dr Kelly's death.
"It has toughened me up," he tells the newspaper.
In his report on the suicide, Lord Hutton said there was no "underhand" strategy to name Dr Kelly as the BBC's suspected source. But he found that the MoD failed to tell him his name would be made public.
Mr Hoon says: "I accept with the benefit of hindsight that we should have done
more to tell David Kelly about what was happening in the department...that his
name was to be confirmed.
Hoon says he prefers a cabinet job to one in Brussels
"I wish we had thought of it. But we did not."
He adds: "I asked frequently my private office and others to ensure that people were
speaking to him and that he was comfortable with what was happening.
specific thing was not done and, as I say, I regret that was not done."
The defence secretary hits out at newspapers who accused him of lying or trying to conceal his role during his appearances at the Hutton inquiry.
It was not widely realised that he had given a written statement before being publicly questioned, he says.
Mr Hoon also says he is "not particularly" interested in moving to Brussels to become a European Union commissioner, a possibility mooted in some reports.
"I am perfectly happy being here and being in the government. I
certainly would not want to exchange (a Commission job) for being a Cabinet
minister," he adds.