Members of Tony Blair’s Cabinet were “deliberately” excluded from seeing key documents drawn up by officials examining the case for war against Iraq, a former head of the Civil Service has claimed.
Lord Butler, who led the Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction in the aftermath of the invasion, said there was no shortage of “very good” information available to help ministers evaluate the case for war in 2003.
But in remarks to a Foreign Office seminar, Lord Butler suggested that the former Prime Minister had intentionally kept the documents away from the majority of the Cabinet. “A lot of very good official papers were prepared,” he said. “None was ever circulated to the Cabinet, just as the Attorney General’s advice [on the legality of the war] was not circulated to the Cabinet.
“So, the Cabinet was not as well-informed as the three leading protagonists: the Prime Minister, the Defence Secretary and the Foreign Secretary… I think that was deliberate, and it was a weakness of the machinery that underlay that particular decision.”
[This was obvious at the time.]
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