Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FASHION

Who's next in Paris, an event with international ready-to-wear and fashion accessories collections

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

THE OBSERVERS

Muslims and Christians clean up Bangui, and violence spirals out of control in Algeria's Gardaia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Is there such thing as 'telegenic' victims of war?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

2014-07-22 07:21 IN THE FRENCH PRESS

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Read more

WEB NEWS

Online scammers exploit MH17 crash

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Too many graphic images from Gaza ?

Read more

  • A call for harmony in riot-hit ‘Little Jerusalem’ Paris suburb

    Read more

  • Israel identifies ‘missing’ soldier in Gaza

    Read more

  • Hollande says French warship delivery will ‘depend on Russia’s attitude’

    Read more

  • Colombia's Rodriguez signs ' €80m' contract with Real Madrid

    Read more

  • Ukraine rebels release bodies, black boxes from flight MH17

    Read more

  • Widodo poised to become Indonesian president

    Read more

  • An ‘explosion of violence’: French press reacts to Gaza protests

    Read more

  • Notorious ‘VIP’ prison in Paris closed for renovations

    Read more

  • Christians in Iraq's Mosul face execution or exodus

    Read more

  • Scores killed as Libyan militias fight over airport

    Read more

  • Ukraine football players refuse to return home after friendly in France

    Read more

  • China steps up communist education to guard against ‘moral decline’

    Read more

  • French rugby stars attacked with machetes and swords

    Read more

  • Hollande announces new military operation in West Africa

    Read more

Europe

Tony Blair 'lied', former minister Clare Short tells Iraq inquiry

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-02-03

Clare Short (pictured), a former government minister, accused Tony Blair of lying during his defence at the Iraq inquiry last week. Short also said that Blair sidelined the cabinet and kept ministers in the dark.

REUTERS - Former minister Clare Short accused Tony Blair of lying over the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and stifling discussion in the British cabinet in the run-up to the war.

Short, a long-time critic of Blair who served as International Development Secretary in his government, disputed evidence the former prime minister gave last week to an inquiry into the war.

Short voted in favour of the 2003 invasion but quit Blair’s government shortly afterwards because she said Blair had “conned” her into thinking the U.N. would play a lead role in post-war Iraq.

WMD: What Tony Blair said before and after 2003 - click here


Last Friday, Blair made a robust defence of his decision to go to war, telling the inquiry that Saddam Hussein had posed a threat to the world and had to be disarmed or removed. He said there had been “substantive discussion” with senior ministers in the cabinet.

But Short told the Chilcot inquiry, which is examining Britain’s role in the war and its aftermath, that she had been excluded from talks and that Blair had not wanted Iraq discussed in the cabinet because he was afraid of leaks to the media.

“There was secretiveness and deception on top of that,” she said. “Normal communications were being closed down.”

She accused Blair of being “frantic” to support the United States and said claims the French would have vetoed any second U.N. resolution authorising military action had been untrue.

“In my view that was a lie, a deliberate lie,” she said.

She said current prime minister Gordon Brown, who was finance minister at the time, had been marginalised.

Brown himself will give evidence later this month or at the start of March and commentators have said the inquiry could damage the ruling Labour party, which is trailing in opinion polls, before an election due by June.

Short accused former Attorney General Peter Goldsmith of not telling the cabinet of his doubts about the legality of war, nor that senior Foreign Office lawyers believed it would be illegal without a second U.N. resolution.

Goldsmith has said he initially doubted the war’s legality and only concluded it would be lawful without such a resolution a week before the invasion, days before the cabinet was briefed.

“I think he misled the cabinet, he certainly misled me, but people let it through,” Short said.

She told the inquiry she believed Goldsmith had been pressured by Blair, something both men deny, but had no direct evidence to back this up.

Short said there was no imminent threat from Saddam, and said planning for the aftermath of the invasion was inadequate.

“There was no reason why it had to be as quick as it was,” she said. “It was all done on a wing and a prayer.

“We could have gone more slowly and carefully and not had a totally destabilised and angry Iraq into which came al Qaeda ... and that would have been safer for the world.”

Short quit the Labour Party parliamentary group in 2006 to become an independent MP.

Date created : 2010-02-02

  • Guardian journalist calls for citizens’ arrest of Tony Blair

    Read more

  • IRAQ

    No covert deal with US to invade Iraq, Blair insists

    Read more

  • IRAQ

    What Tony Blair has said on WMD in Iraq

    Read more

COMMENT(S)