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Public inquiry into Litvinenko poisoning 'expected'

Good Morning Britain's Richard Gaisford is outside the Millennium Hotel in London's Grosvenor Square:

Alexander Litvinenko public inquiry 'to be held'

The Government will announce today that a public inquiry will be held into the death of poisoned ex Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, it has been reported.

Alexander Litvinenko died after drinking tea laced with polonium Credit: PA

Mystery has surrounded the death of the former KGB officer since he died after drinking tea laced with radioactive polonium-210 with two ex colleagues at a London hotel in 2006.

The Daily Telegraph reports that Home Secretary Theresa May will tell Parliament that a public inquiry will take over from the inquest.

A Government spokeswoman said: "An announcement in relation to the death of Alexander Litvinenko is due to be made on Tuesday morning. We will provide no further details until an announcement has been made to the House."


Litvinenko widow continues fight for inquiry

The widow of a former Russian spy who was poisoned in London is continuing her fight for a public inquiry at the High Court.

Litvinenko's widow Marina wants "the truth" about her husbands 2006 death. Credit: PA

Marina Litvinenko is challenging the UK Government's decision to await the outcome of a normal inquest before deciding whether there should be a wider-ranging inquiry.

The mother-of-one is demanding "the truth" of her husband Alexander Litvinenko came to die in 2006 after receiving asylum in the UK.

Alexander Litvinenko died after consuming radioactive polonium-210 while drinking tea with two Russian men, one a former KGB officer, at the Millennium Hotel in Grosvenor Square.

His wife is seeking a ruling that Home Secretary Theresa May was wrong not to order a public inquiry into her 43-year-old husband's death.

Litvinenko's family believe he was working for British intelligence at the time of his death and was killed on orders from the Kremlin.

May: Diplomatic relations affected Litvinenko decision

Alexander Litvinenko died after drinking tea laced with polonium Credit: PA

Home Secretary Theresa May has admitted "international relations" were a factor in the Government's decision not to hold a public inquiry into the death of poisoned spy Alexander Litvinenko.

Mr Litvinenko, died aged 43 in 2006 after drinking tea poisoned with polonium at a London hotel.

Coroner Sir Robert Owen had requested that the government order the inquiry because he could not consider vital secret evidence as part of a normal inquest.

Today a letter from Mrs May to Sir Robert explaining the reasons for the decision was published.

It said: "It is true that international relations have been a factor in the government's decision-making.

"An inquest managed and run by an independent coroner is more readily explainable to some of our foreign partners, and the integrity of the process more readily grasped, than an inquiry, established by the government, which has the power to see potentially relevant to their interests, in secret.

"However this has not been a decisive factor and it if had stood alone would not have led the government to refuse an inquiry."

Foreign Office to 'cooperate' with Litvinenko inquest

The Coroner's inquest into the death of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko can investigate the circumstances surrounding his death, the Foreign Office said today after the Government declined a request to hold a public inquiry.

A Foreign Office spokesman said:

We believe that the Coroner’s inquest can continue to investigate the circumstance of Mr. Litvinenko’s death and we will continue to co-operate fully with it.


  1. Sejal Karia - ITV News Reporter

Litvinenko lawyer to seek judicial review

Ben Emmerson QC - Marina Litvinko's lawyer has severely criticised the government's decision. He will seek judicial review.

He calls it "a repeated catalogue of broken promises[...] disastrous catalogue of indecision at the heart of government. [The government] has been paralysed by indecision".

Mr Emmerson says his widow and her son have been treated with "utter contempt" and in "the ultimate shabby way". He called it a "catalogue of disrespect".

  1. Sejal Karia - ITV News Reporter

Coroner: Investigation into Litvinenko death 'critical'

The Government has declined a request to a public inquiry into the death of poisoned Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko. The Coroner only heard the decision this morning.

Coroner Sir Robert Owen says "an inquiry is necessary into Mr Litvinenko's death if is to be properly investigated".

Sir Robert Owen says he does not believe a proper investigation can be conducted and that it is of critical importance. He says he has not received a full and reasoned response from government and that it is regretted that the decision was not made until this morning.

The Foreign Secretary's lawyer apologises the decision has taken so long and Mr Hague will write to the Coroner with a full explanation about why this decision was reached.

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