Peter Hoskin

David Cameron: Linda Norgrove may have been killed by US rescue team

David Cameron: Linda Norgrove may have been killed by US rescue team
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David Cameron arrived at his press conference forty-five minutes late, and was visibly shaken when he took to the microphone. A few sentences in, it was clear why. "Linda [Norgrove, the British aid worker who recently died in Afghanistan] may not have died at the hands of her captors as originally believed," Cameron said, "[she] could have died as a result of a grenade detonated by the task force during the assault." The PM explained that he had been told this by General Petraeus this morning, and that Ms Norgrove's parents have since been informed.

Cameron emphasised that he had backed the rescue operation, and believed that it was the right thing to do. "The best chance of saving Linda's life was to go ahead," he said. You can expect that claim to be probed and questioned with fresh intensity over the next few days. Indeed, a joint US-UK investigation into Ms Norgrove's death will now be conducted. But today isn't – and during the press conference, wasn't – the time for fierce argument and counterargument. Straightforward politics fades into the background when it comes to what Cameron rightly called a "deeply distressing development".

And so it was for the rest of the press conference. Other issues came up: tuition fees, the fairness of the spending cuts, the strength of the economy. And they were all met with low-key, straightforward answers from the PM. Later today, William Hague will deliver a statement on Linda Norgrove to the Commons. Everyone, on all sides, would wish that he had no cause to.