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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Blair `to escape blame over Kelly`s death`

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

London, Jan. 26, IRNA -- Britain`s top selling Sun newspaper Monday 
become the second daily to report that Prime Minister Tony Blair was 
likely to escape blame for the death of former Iraq arms inspector 
David Kelly. 
Like the Sunday Telegraph, it said that head of the inquiry into 
Kelly`s death, Lord Hutton had sent warning letters to only five 
people who he intends to criticise when his report is published on 
These included Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon, whose department 
employed the arms inspector as an advisor, and Blair`s former 
Communications Director Alastair Campbell, who stepped down from his 
post in the middle of the judicial inquiry. 
The other three were all from the BBC, the Director General Greg 
Dyke, head of news Richard Sambrook, and journalist Andrew Gilligan, 
whose report last May sparked the unprecedented row with the 
government over claims that it exaggerated Iraq`s arms threat. 
Suggestions that Blair will escape personal criticism from 
contributing to the death of Kelly after he was exposed as Gilligan`s 
source are in line with most analysts, who believe that the prime 
minister will survive the controversy. 
Despite the reports, the odds on Blair staying in office this 
month were drastically cut Monday by bookmakers William Hill from 20 
to 1 to 12 to 1 and from 6 to 1 to 5 to 1 on remaining in power for 
the remainder of the year. 
"Punters are betting that Mr Blair`s reign will come to an end 
certainly by the end of 2004 and possibly before February arrives," 
Graham Sharpe, a spokesman for William Hill, said, also referring to 
the crucial vote on Tuesday on university fees. 
Another bookmaker, Paddy Power, put the chances of the prime 
minister not losing his job by the beginning of Frebruary at 6 to 1. 
The biggest favourite to go over the Kelly report was Gavyn Davies, 
the BBC chairman at 3 to 1. 

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