Did Tony Blair Refuse Counsel of the UK Attorney General?
While this update hardly goes in the shocking file, it is news worthy and definitely worth spreading to the rest of blogosphere. It still reads as a bit of ‘his word against mine’, but it’s intriguing and relevant.
Some notable quotes:
- Many newspapers have so far either ignored or underplayed it, and the BBC has hitherto showed limited interest.
- … the new documents appear to establish more clearly than ever before that Tony Blair misled Parliament and the public about the legality of the war.
- Some of the former Prime Minister’s political opponents and a few newspapers have previously accused him of lying, but the ‘smoking gun’ was never quite produced. This time it has been. His accuser is the former Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, a member of the Labour government before, during and after the invasion of Iraq.
- In secret evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry, declassified on Monday, Lord Goldsmith stated that Mr Blair based his case for invasion on grounds that ‘did not have any application in international law’. Coming from the man who was the Government’s senior law officer, this is an extremely serious charge. [It was shown that Goldsmith later changed his mind at the 11th hour.]
- Mr Blair declared that Britain could disregard a UN veto, despite advise to the contrary from his senior legal advisor. He also ignored similar legal advice from Elizabeth Wilmshurst, the Deputy Legal Adviser at the Foreign Office, who resigned on the eve of war.
- It is clear from Lord Goldsmith’s testimony that the Attorney General was ‘no longer actively consulted’ for several months after warning Mr Blair in person on October 22, 2002, that an Anglo-American invasion of Iraq would be a breach of international law. He was frozen out.
- [Failure to follow this advice] should have compelled [Goldsmith’s] resignation [this act would have thrown considerable question into Blair’s decision and also would have generated enough doubt with the current investigation.]
Tony Blair faces the investigation this Friday. Let’s see if he continues to evade scrutiny, assuming any is applied.