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Yet when one examines his words, doubts begin to creep in. He said that if the BBC's allegations that the dossier had been “sexed-up” were true, “it would have merited my resignation”. Are we therefore to assume that any untruth or exaggeration for which Mr Blair is responsible should lead to his resignation? For instance, his statement to the House of Commons that the threat from Iraq was imminent or his twice-repeated undertaking that the United Nations would have a “key role” in post-war Iraq? These two statements are on the record whereas whether the dossier language was “sexed-up” or not remains a matter of interpretation and speculation. Another impressive claim from Mr Blair was of his responsibility for the decision to reveal Dr Kelly as the BBC's source: “In the end I am responsible for all the decisions taken. I take full responsibility for the decisions. I stand by them and think they were the right decisions.” Yet over and over again in his evidence he acknowledged that he was not always aware of the details of what was happening - perfectly understandable given the pressures on him, but nonetheless confusing when the question of where responsibility really lies needs to be established. Mr Blair's most questionable claim in his evidence yesterday was to the effect that the Kelly case had been “handled by the book, in the sense of with the advice of senior civil servants”. This is breathtaking, given that the prime minister's two closest advisors, Alastair Campbell and Jonathan Powell, are not strictly speaking civil servants at all and that Geoff Hoon at the Ministry of Defence overruled his most senior civil servant on the issue of whether Dr Kelly should appear before the House of Commons Select Committee. It will be for Lord Hutton to decide how closely the prime minister's evidence matches what appears in the e-mails and other documentation and what has been said by other witnesses. But he will find it very difficult to separate which evidence belongs to the death of Dr Kelly and which to the wider issue of why Britain went to war. A further enquiry into the latter may, in the end, be unavoidable.


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