‘Tony Blair misled Brit MPs over going ahead with Iraq invasion without UN backing’

January 18th, 2011 - 5:08 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 18 (ANI): Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair misled parliament when he suggested in 2003 that Britain could legally attack Iraq without the backing of the United Nations.

The Telegraph quoted former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith, who at the time was the government’s top legal adviser, as saying that he was “uncomfortable” about statements Blair had made ahead of the Iraq invasion.

Two months before the war began, in a meeting at No 10, he had reportedly told Blair that the lack of a fresh mandate from the UN would make the war illegal, but the Labour Prime Minister insisted that under certain “circumstances”, the attack would be valid.

The following month, he gave an interview in which he suggested that war would be legal if another nation had made an “unreasonable” veto at the UN on military action, the paper said.

According to a witness statement made to the Chilcot Inquiry into the war, when Lord Goldsmith was asked if Blair’s words were compatible with the advice he received, he said: “No”.

“I was uncomfortable about them (the prime minister’s comments) …My concern was that we should not box ourselves in by the public statements that were made, and create a situation which might then have to be unravelled,” he added.

Lord Goldsmith evidence to the inquiry has come under scrutiny after he admitted changing his mind following his meetings with the US’ lawyers and Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Britain’s ambassador to the UN.

The Chilcot Inquiry also released a previously secret memo in which Jack Straw, the former foreign secretary, warned Blair of the “high” risks of his visit to US President George Bush in Crawford, Texas.

In the letter, dated March 25 2002, Straw said: “A legal justification is a necessary but far from sufficient precondition for military action. We also have to answer the big question - what will this action achieve? There seems to be a larger hole in this than on anything.”

Blair would reportedly re-appear before the inquiry for a second time on Friday to answer relevant questions in this matter. (ANI)

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