Sir Michael Wood Damns Blair, Straw and Croney Goldsmith 68

Sir Michael Wood confirmed today that the consistent advice from the FCO’s Legal Advisers was that it was illegal in international law to invade Iraq without a second Security Council Resolution following UNSCR 1441. He also made plain that he consistently over two years advised both Blair and Straw direct that the war would be illegal.

Everything Sir Michael Wood said was 100% consistent with my contention that Straw was lying throughout his testimony on the key point of whether it was believed in the FCO that UNSCR 1441 made the war legal. As I stated, every one of the scores of telegrams of instructions to posts between UNSCR 1441 and just before the March invasion clearly was predicated on a second resolution being necessary, and we were telling security council members in asking them to vote for UNSCR 1441 that it conained “No automatic triggers”. Michael Wood confirmed that too.

Yesterday I wrote this querying why a political appointee mate of Blair can overrule our foremost expert on international law:

A Politician Should Not Rule on the Legality of War

Tomorrow morning, Sir Michael Wood, former Foreign and Commonwealth Office Legal Adviser, gives evidence to the Chilcott Inquiry. To my mind, this is the most important evidence to be given so far. Michael’s then deputy, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, who resigned over the war of aggression, will give evidence in the afternoon, I believe speaking in public for the first time since her resignation.

The Legal Adviser at the Foreign Office is a very grand person indeed. You should understand it is a full time position. The FCO has a big department, named Legal Advisers. It is staffed by the cream of public international lawyers. There are assistant and deputy legal advisers,serving in the FCO in London and sometimes being posted to large Embassies abroad. Then there is THE Legal Adviser, who is a very grand personage indeed, with a palatial office overlooking St James’ Park.

I have no doubt at all that both Wood and Wilmshurst will rebuke Starw’s appalling lie that UNSCR 1441 was considered sufficient to justify an invasion, at the time that it was adopted. Wilmshurst’s resignation letter made it perfectly plain that was not true.

But the question is, whether the Committee will manage to hide that truth by leading the lawyers away from it in their questioning. I have previously described their method as obscuring all the key points in a comfortable fog of chuminess. Expect every possible use of the lateral tangent, the chairman’s intervention and the friendly assumption.

I am very sorry that until now Sir Michael Wood has perhaps been best known to a wider public as the man that the FCO wheeled in to tell me that it was perfectly legal to obtain intelligence from torture, as long as somebody else did the torture.

As I explain in Murder in Samarkand I was shocked by this because I knew Michael and he is a nice man. Even though he made a point in the meeting of indicating moral disapproval of a policy of using torture, it seems to me there should be a limit to which a lawyer is prepared to advise what the government can get away with.

I am hoping that Michael will redeem himself in the eyes of decent people tomorrow, and I believe that he will.

One of the most important structural questions that the Chilcott Inquiry must ask, is this:

Why does the Attorney General have the power to overrule the Legal Adviser on a point of international law?

The answer is not that the Attorney General has a democratic mandate. Nobody has ever voted for Lord Goldsmith. His only qualification was that he was a buddy of Tony and Cherie Blair.

Here is a select list of some of Sir Michael Wood’s internationally accepted publications on international law:

“The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents”, 23 International and Comparative Law Quarterly (1974)

“The European Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism”, 1 Yearbook of European Law (1981)

“The Legal Status of Berlin” (1987, with I. D. Hendry)

“Participation of Former Yugoslav States in the United Nations and in Multilateral Treaties”, 1 Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law (1997)

“The Interpretation of Security Council Resolutions”, 2 Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law (1998)

“International Seabed Authority: the First Four Years”, 3 Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law (1999)

“Northern and Western European Maritime Boundaries”, in: Colson/Smith, International Maritime Boundaries, Vol. V (2005)

“Towards New Circumstances in which the Use of Force may be Authorized? The Cases of Humanitarian Intervention, Counter-terrorism, and Weapons of Mass Destruction”, in: The Security Council and the Use of Force: Theory and Reality – A Need for Change? (eds. N. Blokker/N. Schrijver, 2005)

“The United Kingdom’s Acceptance of the Compulsory Jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice”, in: Festskrift til Carl August Fleischer (eds. O Fauchald/H Jakhelln/A Syse, 2006)

“N?cessit? et l?gitime d?fense dans la lutte contre le terrorisme: quelle est la pertinence de l’affaire de la Caroline aujourd’hui?”, in: La n?cessit? en droit international Soci?t? fran?aise pour le droit international, Colloque de Grenoble, 2006

“The International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea and General International Law”, 22 International Journal of Marine and Coastal Law (2007)

“The Selection of Candidates for International Judicial Office: Recent Practice”, in: Law of the Sea, Environmental Law and Settlement of Disputes: Liber Amicorum Judge Thomas A. Mensah (eds. T M Ndiaye/R Wolfrum, 2007)

Three lectures on “The UN Security Council and International Law” (2006), available on the website of the Lauterpacht Centre for Intenrational Law, University of Cambridge. An expanded version of these lectures will be published in due course by Cambridge University Press as a book within the Hersch Lauterpacht Memorial Lectures series

“The Law on the Use of Force: Current Challenges”, 11 Singapore Yearbook of International Law (2007)

“The Security Council and International Criminal Law”, 5 Romanian Journal of International Law/Revista Rom?na de Drept International (2007)

“The International Seabed Authority: Fifth to Twelfth Sessions (1999-2006)”, 11 Max Planck Yearbook of United Nations Law (2007)

“The General Assembly and the International Law Commission: What Happens to the Commission’s Work and Why?”, in: I Buffard, J Crawford, A Pellet, S Wittich (eds.), International Law Between Universalism and Fragmentation. Festschrift in Honour of Gerhard Hafner (2008)

“The Principle of Non-Intervention” (with Maziar Jamnejad), 29 Leiden Journal of International Law (2009)

“Detention during International Military Operations: Article 103 of the Charter and the Al-Jedda case”, 47 Revue de Droit Militaire et de Droit de la Guerre/The Military Law and the Law of War Review (2009)

Entries in R Wolfrum (ed.), Max Planck “Encyclopedia of Public International Law” (online edition 2008), including:

Committee of Legal Advisers on Public International Law (CAHDI) International Courts and Tribunals, Discontinuance of Cases Final Act International Seabed Authority Legal Advisers Macedonia Peace, Breach of State Practice Teachings of the Most Highly Qualified Publicists United Nations Administrative Tribunal, Applications for Review (Advisory Opinions) United Nations Charter, Enemy State Clauses United Nations Security Council Use of Force, Prohibition of Threat

Here is the complete list of all of Lord Goldsmith’s internationally accepted publications on international law


Which is why the Legal Adviser is paid more than the Attorney General.

So the government spends a very great deal of public money on employing a whole cadre of the best public international lawyers in the world, but takes its legal advice on matters of war and peace from a shifty barrister mate of Tony Blair.

The decision whether to go to war is a political question. But the legal advice should come from the most qualified source, not the source most likely to agree with the Prime Minister.

Even that commonsense observation is going to be much too radical for the stuffed Establishment shirts of the Chilcott Committee.

Last week I published this on Straw’s testimony. Michael Wood’s testimony absolutely confirms that I was telling the truth and Straw was lying:

Jack Straw’s Biggest Lie

I was a British Ambassador at the time of the events covered by the Iraq Inquiry. I know many of the witnesses and a great deal of the background. I can therefore see right through the smooth presentation. Jack Straw was the smoothest of all – but he told lie after lie.

Straw’s biggest and most important lie goes right to the heart of the question of whether the war was legal. Did UN Security Council Resolution 1441 provide a legal basis for the invasion, or would a second resolution specifically authorising military action have been required? The UK certainly put a massive amount of diplomatic effort into obtaining a second resolution.

Here is Straw’s argument that the invasion was legal without a second resolution:

SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: Then you make a point very strongly in your statement and this has been confirmed by Sir Jeremy Greenstock that you did not believe that military action thereafter, in the event of noncompliance, would depend on a second resolution. It would be desirable but it wasn’t dependent on that. We are not, today, going into the legal arguments on that. Sir Jeremy’s basic contention was that he had got the Americans and British into a comparable position as before Desert Fox in December 1998. So I think that’s quite important, that your understanding, at least of the position, was that it wasn’t absolutely essential to have a second resolution.

RT HON JACK STRAW: I was not in any doubt about that and neither was Jeremy Greenstock, and for very good reasons, which is that there had been talk by the French and Germans of a draft which would have required a second resolution, but they never tabled it. We tabled a draft, which, as I set out in this memorandum, and which Sir Jeremy Greenstock confirms in his memorandum, was aimed to be selfcontained, in the sense that, if very important conditions were met through failures by the Saddam regime, that of itself would provide sufficient authority for military action, and no doubt the next time we will get into the wording of the resolution, which, as I say in this memorandum, I can virtually recite in my sleep, but there are reasons why in OP12 we use the language that we do, and serious consequences are mentioned in OP13 and so on. For sure, we wanted a second resolution after that and well, again, I set out

SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN: We will come on to that in a moment.

As Ambassador in an Islamic country, I was copied all or nearly all of the telegrams of instruction on the diplomatic efforts to secure a second resolution. I can tell you these facts as an eye-witness.

Straw argues that the proof that no second resolution was needed is that

I was not in any doubt about that and neither was Jeremy Greenstock, and for very good reasons, which is that there had been talk by the French and Germans of a draft which would have required a second resolution, but they never tabled it.

But they did not table it because we gave assurances to the French and Germans (and Russians and Chinese) that our draft of UNSCR 1441 did not authorise military action. The instructions were to inform those governments that UNSCR 1441 contained “no automatic trigger” which would lead to military action. I remember the phrase precisely “no automatic trigger”. Rod Lyne on the committee must remember it too, because he was one of the people, as Ambassador in Moscow, instructed to give that message.

It is the most perverse of lies by Straw to argue that the fact that the Germans and French did not table their draft proved that 1441 authorised war, when we had told them not to table their draft because 1441 did not authorise war.

I read with enormous care and in real time every single word of the scores of telegrams on the effort to secure the second resolution. Not one word gave any hint at all that a second resolution might not be necessary to authorise war. There was absolutely no mention in telegrams to Embassies of the notion that UNSCR 1441 was a sufficient basis for war, and no second resolution needed, until many weeks after 1441 was passed, just before the invasion.


In response to New Labour hacks questioning my word, I can offer you irrefutable evidence to back up my own evidence that all the FCO material at the time of the adoption of UNSCR 1441 and for weeks afterwards right up until March, took the view that UNSCR 1441 did not provide legal grounds for the invasion.

It is the resignation letter of Deputy FCO Legal Adviser Elizabeth Wilmshurst in which she stated:

“I cannot agree that it is lawful to use force against Iraq without a second Security Council resolution to revive the authorisation given in SCR 678. I do not need to set out my reasoning; you are aware of it.

My views accord with the advice that has been given consistently in this office before and after the adoption of UN security council resolution 1441 and with what the attorney general gave us to understand was his view prior to his letter of 7 March. (The view expressed in that letter has of course changed again into what is now the official line.) ”

All FCO instructions in the period to which I refer would have had to be in line with the view expressed by FCO legal advisers at that time. That view was precisely as I have stated it above.

This part of Straw’s evidence is therefore a huge lie.

There were numerous other minor lies from Straw. It is completely untrue that we had persuaded the three African security council members to support a second resolution authorising war. Baroness’ Amos mission to Francophone states we had ignored for years was a miserable failure. That was clear from reporting telegrams from posts.

It’s a small point, but Straw’s lie that upset me most personally was:

I don’t in the least mind people disagreeing with me, indeed I encourage it, but I do ask them to be loyal, because, otherwise, you can’t operate any kind of governmental system.

I disagreed with Straw, over the issue of the use of torture to gain intelligence in the “War on Terror”. I was very loyal. I kep my disagreement entirely internal and argued it in top secret telegrams and internal policy meetings. As a result of my disagreeing, Straw attempted to have me framed on false charges, destroying my health in the process and leaking false accusations to the tabloids to ruin my reputation too. When my name was finally cleared, they had to give me six year’s salary to settle.

I defy anyone to read Murder in Samarkand and say Straw is not a liar.

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68 thoughts on “Sir Michael Wood Damns Blair, Straw and Croney Goldsmith

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  • Paul J. Lewis

    This link might be of interest to anyone who wants to see Tony Blair brought to justice:

    (I posted this in the discussion thread for Craig’s previous post but it was way down the bottom so I thought I’d post it again.)

  • avatar singh

    chemical ali is hanged when will war criminal tony blair will be put to gallows? include among those to eb doomed-after goign through abu gharibi style treatment-those companison of crime like bBc journalists, sky journalists and rupert murdocjh and ofocurse this criminal jack ripper straw. and let thse be judged not by kangaroo british court but by the iraqis and afgans who suffrerd fromt these animals.

    some one wrote this about americans-this applies more to the british because atleast americans did nto really vote for fraudulent bush but the british did vote thrice for the war criminal tony blair harami-knwing fully well his crimes.

    “And Americans are definitely at fault. Who do you think elects these people, the French?? Just how many French voted for Bush in 2000?? How about 2004??? Did the Swiss vote put Bush over the top then??? You guys are blind if you can’t see how the American people have gleefully baaaed their way into this morass happy to drive their wasteful Hummers and remain completely ignorant about the rest of the world.

    When the world was saying that Saddam might not have WMDs, it was the US AND ONLY THE US (well, with the UK, Spain and Israel) that insisted on starting an illegal war. Americans were all for it. They were screaming in the streets for it. The rest of the world protested louder than ever before in 2003 AGAINST THE WAR and the US decided to go in anyway. If Americans weren’t behind Bush, there’s no way he would have been able to go against the entire world.

    Americans are some of the most ignorant, stupid people on the planet. They have one of the most corrupt medias anyway, know very little about what really goes on in the world, love to flaunt their ignorance as some sort of richer-than-thou trophy that they don’t need to know what’s going on, and then spout idiotic crackpot theories as if they were facts even in the face of reality.

    “The Jews are the only ones to blame” is pure racism. It would be a lot closer to the truth to say that “Americans are the only ones to blame,” but even that is far from the truth. Morons vote for morons and then, morons become elected. The easier to control the herd with.”

  • writerman

    Well, my doubts about whether or not Blair actually broke international law in launching an unprovoked attack on Iraq to disarm it, (but of course it was no longer really armed at all, but a country on its knees, both militarily and economically), seem to have been swept aside by Michael Wood and his expert opinion, baked up by years of experience in this area of law.

    Wood’s opinion is, of course, backed by what most of the world’s experts in international law have also concluded. One only has to think of the recent Dutch enquiry dealing with the question of the wars legality, which came to the same conclusion as Wood. The attack on Iraq was illegal, a grave international crime, one, if not the worst imaginable.

    And Kofi Annan, remember him? Also stated, that from the perspective of the UN the war was also deemed illegal.

    So who is left defending the “rightness” or “goodness” of attacking Iraq? Probably only those nations that actively took part in the attack themselves! The arch-criminals exonerate themselves, how convenient!

    It’s also interesting that Blair himself has talked about the “right thing to do” in relation to Iraq and Saddam’s regime, but he seems to have moved away from using the word “legal.”

  • writerman

    Here’s something about the concept of self-deception in nature, which I believe relates to my opinion that Blair has psychopathic traits; in the sense of being “amoral”, a born conman, and serial liar. It’s about the characteristics of deception, and how useful they are.

    Deception is an important aspect of communication in nature, both in, and between species. Thos able to master deception are likely to survive. Yet, self-deception is even better, because one has successfully hidden most if not all, the outward signs that one is deceiving, which over time have become recognizable to other species, and therefore lose their effectiveness and strength, in the battle for survival between species, especially if one is a predator.

  • Mike

    Wilmshurst admitted that she DID authorise force in the 1998 bombings. She is a hypocrite.

    She makes me ashamed to be British. She was a civil servant whose only job was to give advice and then obey the attorney general?s final decision. She has disgraced the civil service.

  • stephen

    But Sir Michael said he had always made it clear that it was ultimately up to Lord Goldsmith to advise ministers on whether war was lawful.

    So you answer to you question as to why Goldsmith could overrule the advice of Michael Woods is that the the FCO’s legal adviser said that Goldsmith’s advice takes precedence. So Straw may not have been lying?

  • Owen Lee Hugh_Mann

    I predict Goldsmith will use the “Blackadder” defence tomorrow, “Opinion on Resolution 1441 was divided. Everyone else said war would be illegal, I said it wouldn’t.”

  • Richard Robinson

    writerman – “Deception is an important aspect of communication in nature, both in, and between species. Thos able to master deception are likely to survive. Yet, self-deception is even better, because one has successfully hidden most if not all, the outward signs that one is deceiving, which over time have become recognizable to other species, and therefore lose their effectiveness and strength, in the battle for survival between species, especially if one is a predator.”

    Is there a typo in the last sentence ? It seems to say that self-deception is even better, and then go on to argue the case why it’s dangerous.

    Consider George Orwell’s “2+2=5”. There may perhaps be value in persuading some set of competitors that you believe this, but if you actually do believe it, your engineering projects are going to run into difficulties.

    “Reality is that which bites you on the arse when you turn your back on it”.

  • Craig


    Are you a complete fool? Of course they system is that the Attorney General can overrule the Legal Adviser, even though the Legal Adviser is much more expert on international law.

    Nobody is saying that is not the system. We are saying it allows the PM’s croney to overrule the best expert advice available to the government, and it should NOT be the syatem.

  • amk

    Cut and paste of the NPD criteria (sounds like most politicians to me):

    1 has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

    2 is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

    3 believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

    4 requires excessive admiration

    5 has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

    6 is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

    7 lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

    8 is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her

    9 shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

  • Jves

    Interesting that Straw thought “International Law was pretty vague…”

    Wasn’t aware he was an expert in that field…

  • Jon

    @Mike – you’ve duplicated that comment onto the “Politians Should Not Rule On The Legality Of War” post, where a few people have responded to you.

  • arsalan

    I’m not sure what any of this means. If it was legal it would have still been as wrong, even though it was illegal and they knew it, they still did it, and are still doing it.

    The only issue that matters was Iraq didn’t have the weapons. That is why the invasion happened. What every country should learn is they must obtain every weapon they need to defend themselves against America and the UK. That is the only way to stop invasions.

    The pen is not mightier than the sword.

  • Arsalan

    The main thing that tells us Straw knew it was illegal is the fact that he had many Uzbeck farmers boiled alive to try and get the Uzbeck farmers to admit that they were Iraq terrorists so he could use their confessions as a means to get a second resolution.

    If he didn’t know that the war was illegal without it, he wouldn’t have had to have any farmers boiled alive.

  • ediot

    Just finished reading the book of this:

    Given the weird authoritarian and repressive excess that has characterized the Blair regime, even this “fictional” account sits easy with the record.

    In other words, you couldn’t make it up!

  • stephen


    What should and should have been is not really the issue when you accuse Straw of lying. To paraphrase, you said that Straw was lying when he said his advice was that the war was legal without a second resolution – he may or may not have been wise on relying Goldman as his ultimate source of legal advice – but as Woods has made clear his ultimate adviser was Goldman. Given that you were not privy to the legal advice provided by Goldman to Straw, I’m afraid you are not in a position to say whether Straw lied or not.

    As to whether the senior legal adviser to the Government should be a member of the Government – and hence accountable to Parliment – I can see counter arguments as to why that should be the case. Believe it or not there are areas where expert advisers can disagree – and then some judgement is required in order to chose between those different positions. I for one would prefer the person making the judgement to be accountable for the decision – ministers decide, advisers advise is an entirely stupid maxim.

  • Jon

    @avatar_singh – blaming the electorate for ‘moronic’ behaviour is the same as blaming them for being human. It is true that most people are ‘sheep-like’, but if this is a regrettable feature of the human mind, then surely we should blame the creators of the culture which fosters and encourages it? Perhaps you and I, and Craig and technicolor, and glenn and MJ, and dreoilin and amk et al are unusually lucky to be given the cognitive ability to withstand being in oppositional minority, or sufficient empathy to cut through the propaganda of ones own side, even if it is uncomfortable to do so.

    And as for the culture, what drives it? Is it in the nature of capitalism to make people greedy and self-serving, or are people greedy anyway (I tend to argue the former, and disagree with the latter). You touch on this: to what degree should we focus our ire on the media? I think the media institutions sometimes contain some extremely selfish people, and some of them perhaps exhibit the high-functioning personality disorders that @writerman refers to.

    Accordingly whilst it is true that US culture is much more inward looking than other nations – few Americans own a passport, and awareness of foreign affairs is extremely low on average – shouting at people for their ‘stupidity’ is not going to win your position any converts.

    To get an extremely intelligent but sympathetic view of working-class American values, amongst the military in particular, I would strongly recommend you read “Enemy Combatant” by Moazzam Begg (a Birmingham, UK man who spent several years in Guantanamo Bay without charge). Given his treatment, I think his assessments are extraordinarily charitable, and insightful.

  • ediot

    There’s no one who thinks the war was legal apart from the criminals involved and their acolytes.

    The Attorney General didn’t even think it was legal until he was leant on by Falconer, Sally Morgan and a gang of hoods in the US.

    Only then did he change his mind.

  • ediot

    Oh good. The film about Blairio will be released next month, just when it’s all still lovely and topical.

    E: 01/26/2010 06:45:52 PM

    “Americans are some of the most ignorant, stupid people on the planet. They have one of the most corrupt medias anyway, know very little about what really goes on in the world, love to flaunt their ignorance as some sort of richer-than-thou trophy that they don’t need to know what’s going on, and then spout idiotic crackpot theories as if they were facts even in the face of reality.”

    How quickly this website enters into that familiar territory of anti-Americanism.

    How’s your media working out for you?

    And what’s this about idiotic crackpot theories? Do you mean the people on this blog who, with a lack of evidence, insist that 911 was an inside job?

  • mary

    The Dr Kelly piece is so far back now excuse me for putting this on. This news came through while the doctors were having a conference. The dam is being breached I should say.

    Page last updated at 18:18 GMT, Tuesday, 26 January 2010

    Doctors may see Kelly post-mortem report, says Hutton

    David Kelly’s body was found near his Oxfordshire home in 2003

    Details of the post-mortem examination of government weapons inspector David Kelly should be seen by doctors seeking an inquest, Lord Hutton has said.

    The peer confirmed he had requested a 70-year gagging order on the material at the conclusion of his inquiry into Dr Kelly’s 2003 death.

    But he said on Tuesday the purpose of the secrecy order had been to avoid causing distress to Dr Kelly’s family.

    He has written to ministers saying the report may be seen by the doctors.

    Dr Kelly’s body was found in woods close to his Oxfordshire home in 2003, shortly after it was revealed that he was the source of a BBC report casting doubt on the government’s claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction capable of being fired within 45 minutes.


    An inquest was suspended by then Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer, who ruled that Lord Hutton’s inquiry could take its place.

    Lord Hutton’s report in 2004 concluded that Dr Kelly had killed himself by cutting an artery in his wrist.

    But the finding has been challenged by doctors who claim that the weapons inspector’s stated injuries were not serious enough.

    It’s astonishing and unheard-of for material of this nature to be hidden away for any length of time, let alone 70 years

    Morman Baker, Lib Dem MP

    One of them, former assistant coroner Michael Powers, raised concerns over the secrecy order after seeing a letter from the legal team of Oxfordshire County Council explaining the unusual restrictions placed by Lord Hutton on material relating to his inquiry.

    The letter stated: “Lord Hutton made a request for the records provided to the inquiry, not produced in evidence, to be closed for 30 years, and that medical (including post-mortem) reports and photographs be closed for 70 years.”

    On Tuesday, Lord Hutton released a statement explaining his decision and revealing that he had written to the Ministry of Justice.

    In it, he said: “At the conclusion of my inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly, I requested that the post-mortem report relating to his death should not be disclosed for 70 years as I was concerned that the publication of that report in newspapers, books and magazines would cause his daughters and his wife further and unnecessary distress.

    “Much of the material in the post-mortem report had been given in oral evidence in public at the inquiry and substantial parts of that evidence had been set out in my report.

    “However, I consider that the disclosure of the report to doctors and their legal advisers for the purposes of legal proceedings would not undermine the protection which I wished to give to Dr Kelly’s family, provided that conditions were imposed restricting the use and publication of the report to such proceedings, and I have written to the Ministry of Justice to this effect.”

    Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who has conducted his own inquiries into Dr Kelly’s death, said: “It’s astonishing and unheard-of for material of this nature to be hidden away for any length of time, let alone 70 years.

    “Coroners’ inquests are held in public. Lord Hutton’s inquiry was unique in its format and unique in requesting restrictions of this nature.

    “His statement today undermines the validity of his own inquiry and gives further justification to the case being made by many for a proper inquest to be held into this most public of deaths.”

  • Clark


    I, for one, wish the pen to me mightier than the sword, for the devistation of Iraq to be proven illegal, and for those guilty to be tried and punished.

    EFFECTIVE law is, as your comment makes clear, the only alternative to a devistating arms race, perpetual war, and all the human suffering that would cause.

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