Cross-party peers back Baker’s calls for fresh David Kelly inquiry

by Stephen Tall on January 17, 2008

So the Bexhill Observer informs us:

Speaking in the Lords, Labour peer Lord Berkeley said the book contained sufficient evidence to warrant the opening of a new inquiry into the death of the government weapons inspector in 2003.

In his exchange with the Minister, Lord Berkeley highlighted the unsatisfactory, non-statutory nature of the Hutton Inquiry and the fact that none of the witnesses were obliged to give evidence under oath.

He was backed by Lord Martin of Gresford (Lib Dem) and Lord Stoddart of Swindon (independent).

Lord Martin also raised the matter revealed in Mr Baker’s book that Lord Falconer, then Secretary of State for Constitutional Affairs, used an exceptional power to direct the coroner both not to continue with the original inquest into Dr Kelly’s death and not to resume it unless there was an exceptional reason.

In his reply the Minister said the government would not re-open the matter, but described Mr Baker’s book as ‘a good Christmas read’.

Such a good read, indeed, that it has been shortlisted for the Channel 4 Political Book of the Year Award. Back in November, Norman Baker wrote an article for LDV – Why the death of Dr David Kelly simply will not go away – highlighting the reasons he believes an investigation is essential, and concluding:

What is certain is that the conclusions of the Hutton Inquiry are an insult to the intelligence of the British people, and because of this, this is unfinished business. It will remain so until we have a proper inquest into the death of Dr Kelly, and a proper full-scale public inquiry into the disastrous and dishonest decision by the Blair Government to take us into an illegal war in Iraq.

You can buy a copy of Norman’s book via Amazon using this link (which earns the party commission).

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Please can the editors of LDV resist this? I would like to see the party coffers boosted as much as anyone, but Mr. Baker’s innuendoes and conjectures on David Kelly are pretty embarrassing. Most local parties favour fundraising through the odd raffle or beetle drive. Can we steer clear of linking the good of the party to the maverick nonsense of one of its MPs?

by Russ on January 17, 2008 at 8:42 pm. Reply #

No can do, Russ. Norman’s book raises serious questions about the Hutton inquiry into David Kelly’s death. (Doesn’t necessarily mean I buy his answers, but the questions need to be raised, and good on Norman for doing so.) And dismissing his long-standing campaigning work as maverick or embarrassing is plain silly.

by Stephen Tall on January 17, 2008 at 9:26 pm. Reply #

Yes – serious questions remain. Among other things, the paramedics who attended Mr Kelly’s death, and a number of senior figures in the medical world have cast doubt on the suicide conclusion of the Hutton inquiry. Norman has also found, through a FOI request that there were no fingerprints on the knife with which Mr Kelly allegedly killed himself. (Guardian – 15.10.07)
It is disgraceful that there has been no proper coroner’s inquest, and we must go on campaigning for one, as well as for a proper investigation of the Government’s actions in the lead up to the Iraq war itself.

by Terry Gilbert on January 18, 2008 at 12:33 am. Reply #

We are happy to waste millions of pounds of public money on Mohammad Al-Fayed’s farcical “inquest” into the death of Diana and Dodi, even though there is no actual evidence to support Al-Fayed’s claims (or if there is, the court has yet to hear it).

But if someone has the temerity to call for a new inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly (where there is abundant evidence of a state-sponsored assassination), trolls like Russ start mud-slinging.

Keep it up, Norman. You’re a hero!

by Angus J Huck on January 18, 2008 at 1:04 am. Reply #

1. Thank you Stephen – I appreciate the swift response to clarify my question about LDV editorial policy.

4. Angus, my reference to Mr Baker’s book as ’embarrasing’ & ‘nonsense’ may have been hasty, given the amount of work that he has put into it, and I apologise for that. But to accuse me of trolling is out of order – I raised a query mainly about the final paragraph of the original post, precisely because I care about LibDem ideas, the work of individual MPs, and how these things are debated. It’s not mud-slinging.

by Russ on January 18, 2008 at 11:51 am. Reply #

Good to be reminded of this. It shouldn’t be allowed to drift away.

by Sal on January 18, 2008 at 6:19 pm. Reply #

We are happy to waste millions of pounds of public money on Mohammad Al-Fayed’s farcical “inquest” into the death of Diana and Dodi.

Well I agree the Diana inquest is a complete waste of money, but I don’t think it is “al-Fayed’s inquest,” is it? I thought the inquest was just part of due process, albeit a process which has been spun out for ever due to the unique circumstances of the case.

by Laurence Boyce on January 18, 2008 at 7:38 pm. Reply #

Re: Post #4: While the inquest into Diana’s death has been a bit of a circus, it is wrong to call it Mohommad Al Fayad’s…inquest, or dismiss the need for it. The aim, as with any coroner’s inquest, is to establish the cause of death. There should have been an inquest in the Diana case many years ago, when the evidence was still fresh in the memory of witnesses. Mr Al Fayad may well be wrong in his allegation of a conspiracy but, as a grieving father, he deserved a proper inquest, with witnesses on oath, at the very least. The blame for the circus rests squarely with those who denied an inquest for so long, not with those who campaigned for one. Arguably, the delay allowed conspiracy theories to gain more credence. The same will happen over the Kelly case, if the Government continues to obstruct due process.

by Terry Gilbert on January 18, 2008 at 7:47 pm. Reply #

If Jack Straw is found to have been the neferious mastermind behind the death of David Kelly and Diana, can we also assume he is also behind the opportune death of everyone from John Smith to Hugh Gaitskell and David Penhaligon, as well as the convenient smearing of any other threatening pretender to his master’s rightful throne?

Or do we just conclude he learnt these black arts from an in-house tutor?

by conspiracy theorist on January 18, 2008 at 8:16 pm. Reply #

No 9:

Hugh Gaitskell died in 1963, I believe? Remind me how old Jack Straw was at the time.

On the subject of the Diana inquest, I agree that Mohammed Al-Fayed is entitled to have one. What I object to is (1) the cost (to be met out of the public purse) and (2) Al-Fayed’s insistence upon a jury, which has resulted in the inordinate delay. If it is indeed the case that Al-Fayed’s real motive is not to determine the truth about the deaths of Diana and Dodi, but to embarrass the Royal Family, then that is surely an abuse of the process of the court.

There are compelling grounds for believing that Dr Kelly was murdered. So two things need to happen. First, there must be an inquest. Seond, there has to be a Police investigation.

by Angus J Huck on January 18, 2008 at 9:41 pm. Reply #

I suspect that Mr Al-fayad’s insistence on a jury has not been the cause of most of the delay – rather it was the Government’s desire not to have an inquest at all for some 9 years.
Also it is a legal requirement that a jury sits in a case where someone is allegedly killed by a police officer, and the allegation here (although I personally do not consider it well-founded) is that it was the secret service, a not dissimilar situation. A jury verdict will be stronger than a decision by a senior Judge, given the inevitable allegations of a establishment cover up.

by Terry Gilbert on January 21, 2008 at 2:29 pm. Reply #

Sorry Russ. Based on this trail you are a bit of a dimwit

by kevin king on September 19, 2008 at 10:32 pm. Reply #

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