She said the Labour government abused its power and was partly responsible for the alleged suicide of David Kelly, a leading weapons expert, who was found dead after leaking information to the BBC about the severity of Iraq’s threat to world security.

 

Blair is “a complete convert to the neo-Conservative view of the world” espoused by the hardliners behind US President George W. Bush, Short told UK newspaper The Independent in an interview.

 

Claire Short, former secretary of state for international development, resigned after disagreeing with the British government over its policy towards Iraq.

 

“We must deal with Dr Kelly, and the abuse of power that helped drive him to his death,” Short told the paper.

 

“But we must also deal with the questions of how we went to war in Iraq and how much half-truth and deceit there was on the way.”

 

Spin doctors

 

Short attacked Blair’s reliance on “spin doctors,” un-elected public relations advisors to the government, to levy support for policies such as the war in Iraq, and said that the prime minister’s reputation would be  deeply tarnished as a result.

 

Alistair Campbell, head of government media relations and on whom Blair relied during the war, has been accused of “sexing up” a report aimed at persuading the British electorate of the need for war against Iraq.

 

The document, attributed to the British security services, said Iraq was capable of deploying weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes.

 

Kelly leaked information to the BBC, saying Campbell had heavily influenced the report, over-ruling concerns from the intelligence community that some of its contents wouldn’t stand up to further scrutiny.

 

Dodgy dossier

 

The report,  presented to the UK Parliament in February of this year has become known as the “dodgy dossier”

 

“Public confidence has changed enormously,” Short said.

 

The test for the Labour Party is: can we renew ourselves in power? The third election could be won; it could be lost, too.”