22 July 2003

Statement by Lord Hutton on the range and nature of his inquiry into the death of David Kelly

The government has invited me to conduct an investigation into the tragic death of Dr David Kelly, which has brought such great sorrow to his wife and children.

My terms of reference are these:

Urgently to conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Dr Kelly.

The government has further stated that it will provide me with the fullest cooperation and that it expects all other authorities and parties to do the same.

I make it clear that it will be for me to decide as I think right within my terms of reference the matters which will be the subject of my investigation.

I intend to sit in public in the near future to state how I intend to conduct the inquiry and to consider the extent to which interested parties and bodies should be represented by counsel or solicitors. In deciding on the date when I will sit, I will obviously wish to take into account the date of Dr Kelly's funeral and the timing of the inquest into his death.

After that preliminary sitting I intend to conduct the inquiry with expedition and to report as soon as possible. It is also my intention to conduct the inquiry mostly in public.

This will be the first independent judicial inquiry (although I suspect not the last) to touch on the question of distorted intelligence in the lead-up to the war. That makes Lord Hutton's determination to assert his independence crucial.

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