Blair received disastrous ratings in the latest opinion poll published by the Daily Telegraph on Friday.

Only 27% of the respondents said they trusted the prime minister. His government fared worse, with just 22% saying it had been honest and truthworthy.

If the beleaguered prime minister hoped to disabuse the British public of the belief that he had exaggerated the threat from Iraqi weapons by forcefully defending himself at the inquiry, he has clearly not had his way.

At best, Blair's smooth and unruffled performance at the inquiry won him a mixed reaction.

Only 27 % of the respondents said they trusted the prime minister.

The Independent newspaper called it "an assured performance that has not dispelled the lingering suspicion."

Leading political analyst, Anthony King, Professor of Government at Essex University, concluded there were no winners.

Reflecting on the latest poll, he said: " Signs are emerging that Dr Kelly's death and the revelations of the inquiry are inflicting substantial damage not just on Tony Blair's government but on Britain's entire political class - journalists as well as politicians."