Blair aide to testify on Iraq report

The British government made a surprise U-turn on Monday when it decided to allow Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Director of Communications to testify at a parliamentary committee hearing investigating whether a report on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was embe

    Blair is under pressure to prove the dossier was not doctered

    Last Friday Blair’s office had refused a second request from the committee to question Campbell after claims he was involved in over-exaggerating a dossier on Baghdad’s alleged threat in order to justify the war against Iraq.

    A spokesman for Blair said Foreign Secretary Jack Straw had written to the Chairman of Parliament’s cross-party foreign affairs committee informing him that Downing Street Director of Communications and Strategy, Alastair Campbell would give evidence.

    “Alastair has always wanted to give evidence but we were genuinely worried about the problems of precedence,” said the spokesman. He

    said the frersh decision was due to allegations reported in newspapers over the weekend, accusing Campbell of doctoring the dossier.

    Ex-Foreign Minister Robin Cook
    resigned over the Iraq war

    Inquiry

    London is under mounting pressure to provide hard evidence that Iraq possessed nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.

    No weapons have been found since the US-led war was launched on 20 March.

    Last week London launched an inquiry in allegations that it had dressed-up a report, beginning with public testimonies from two former cabinet ministers who resigned over the Iraq war.

    Last week former cabinet minister Robin Cook accused Blair’s government of “ not presenting the whole picture” in the run-up to the war.

    Claire Short, who also resigned in protest, said Blair presented a series of “half truths, exaggerations, reassurances that weren't the case" in the run-up to war.

    SOURCE: Unspecified


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