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Weapons crisis for PM.

Tony Blair faced new controversy over the Iraq war today after the US official who led the hunt for alleged weapons of mass destruction there said the country did not have large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons.

David Kay, who has stepped down as head of the Iraq Survey Group, was reported as saying there was no large scale production programme in Iraq during the 1990s and what was going to be found had been found.

Downing Street responded by calling for patience, adding: "There is still more work to be done."

Mr Kay's remarks are sure to be a severe embarrassment to US President George Bush and to Mr Blair - who is facing publication of the Hutton report into the death of Government weapons expert Dr David Kelly on Wednesday.

The CIA has named the new inspector to lead the search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, choosing a veteran investigator who has expressed scepticism that Saddam Hussein possessed banned weapons that posed an immediate threat.

Charles Duelfer, the No 2 UN weapons inspector in Iraq for much of the 1990s, is taking over the task of sorting out Saddam's weapons programme.
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jan 24, 2004
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