Sunday, March 27, 2005
Blair's Bagman

The Sunday Times has provided more details concerning the contacts of Lord Goldsmith, Attorney General, preceding his memorandum dated the 7th March in which he stated that the war in Iraq could be open to challenge in a court of law. It is clear that he met both Lord Falconer, a junior minister in the Home Office at this time, and Baroness Morgan, a political adviser to the Prime Minister. These meetings have been interpreted within the accepted paradigm of Nulab bullying, with 'pressure' applied to Goldsmith to come to the 'correct' conclusion (or perhaps sign a drafted opinion!).

Dominic Grieve, Shadow Attorney General, has asked another question:

“I’d certainly say Lord Falconer had a role in this. It is clear that the attorney-general carried out a major change of policy,” said Grieve. “One possibility is that he was leant on. The other, which I think is more likely, is that he was given new information about weapons of mass destruction. I think he was hoodwinked, like parliament.”

Grieve said that as a Home Office minister for criminal justice at the time, Falconer should not have been involved in any discussions with the government’s most senior law officer about the war’s legality.
“Falconer should have had nothing to do with this. He’s Tony’s crony,” he added.

A spokeswoman for Goldsmith said the attorney-general had repeatedly said that the advice he had given was his own, genuinely held view and that he had not been influenced by Downing Street or by any minister, including Falconer. “He was not leant on in any way to give that view,” she said.

The power of the erroneous intelligence information was probably sufficient to persuade Goldsmith that, if weapons of mass destruction were uncovered, the legality of the war would never be questioned. Therefore, publication of Goldsmith's advice, with its reliance upon the damned intelligence, would sink Blair administration's thin protestations that the war was legal. Their incompetence would come full circle.


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