London, July 29: The widow of David Kelly could appoint publicly-funded lawyers to cross-examine ministers at the inquiry into her husband’s death, Lord Hutton indicated yesterday.
The law lord appointed by Tony Blair to investigate the circumstances leading to the scientist’s apparent suicide said the inquiry would begin on Friday with a preliminary hearing of the high court.
Lord Hutton gave details of the opening of his investigation as Downing Street dismissed claims by Clare Short, the former international development secretary, that an “abuse of power” helped drive Kelly to his death.
She described the Prime Minister as a “neo-conservative” and said the chain of events leading to the death of the weapons expert was indicative of Blair’s “obsession with spin”.
At the opening of the hearing in Court 73 Lord Hutton will outline the scope of his investigation and take applications from the interested parties, expected to include the government, the BBC and Kelly’s family.
Any legal costs incurred by the scientist’s widow, Janice, would be met by the inquiry, he said. Lord Hutton has, however, yet to rule on whether witnesses should be legally represented.