Sat, Jul 26, 2003 - Page 7 News List

Most British think their government is deceitful

AP , LONDON

More than two-thirds of British voters believe a culture of deceit exists at the heart of the Britain's government, according to a poll released yesterday and conducted following the presumed suicide of arms expert David Kelly.

As British Prime Minister Tony Blair battles to overcome his biggest crisis since coming power in 1997 over Kelly's death, a YouGov poll in The Daily Telegraph revealed that 68 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that a culture of deceit and spin exists at the heart of the British government.

The survey is the latest in a series of British polls published this week showing significant falls in voter support for Blair following Kelly's death on July 17.

The BBC says the arms expert was the main source for its report in May that said Blair's office "sexed-up" a dossier on Iraq in the run-up to war against the wishes of intelligence chiefs.

The row centers on a headline-grabbing claim in the September dossier that Baghdad could launch weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes.

The poll also showed that only 23 percent of voters believe Blair can be trusted more than opposition leaders while 45 percent said Blair should be replaced as leader of the Labour party, the same proportion who said he should remain.

A total 47 percent agreed with the statement that one cannot believe a word Blair says. while 61 percent said the government appeared to have lost control and to be at the mercy of events.

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