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    May 28, 2019 12:39 AM PDT

    Hoon 'ready' to give evidence to judicial inquiry

    British Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon is prepared to give evidence to a judicial inquiry into the apparent suicide of a top official involved in the row over Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) said.

    "Like the Prime Minister, the Defence Secretary is ready to give evidence Golden Goose to Lord Hutton in public at the earliest opportunity," the Ministry said in a communique.

    Earlier, British Prime Minister Tony Blair denied that he had personally approved the naming of defence expert David Kelly as the source of allegations that his Government exaggerated the case for war against Iraq.

    News of the discovery of Dr Kelly's body last Friday sent shock waves through political circles in Britain and prompted the media to ask who was to blame for the way the scientist was "outed" as a suspected mole.

    The inquiry by Brian Hutton, a senior judge or law lord, was announced by Mr Blair later the same day.

    Police believe Dr Kelly bled to death from a slash in his left wrist.

    A knife and painkillers were found near his body at a countryside beauty spot.

    The Financial Times reported that Mr Hoon had personally authorised a media strategy allowing Dr Kelly to be named as the main source for a story by BBC reporter Andrew Gilligan.

    Since Dr Kelly's death, the BBC has confirmed that he was indeed the main source for the story.