UK files on murdered spy Litvinenko must stay secret, rules coroner


Media and widow of Russian excluded from pre-inquest hearing in London on William Hague's request to withhold evidence

Media groups have expressed disappointment after a coroner ruled that secret government files on the murdered Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko would be examined in private.

The foreign secretary, William Hague, wants to withhold evidence from the inquest into Litvinenko's murder on the grounds that it compromises national security and the UK's international relations.

The government refuses to say what the evidence is. Lawyers for Litvinenko's widow, Marina, have vigorously opposed Hague's request.

On Tuesday Ben Emmerson QC said Hague wanted to keep the Litvinenko files secret because he was worried they might damage trade relations with Moscow and antagonise Vladimir Putin, the Russian president. He accused Hague and David Cameron of "dancing to the Russian tarantella" and of colluding with..

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