Ex-defence minister told to ‘burn’ secret Iraq war memo – reports — Analysis
Former UK defence secretary Geoff Hoon alleges Downing Street insiders ordered him ‘in no uncertain terms’ to burn legal opinion that doubted basis for 2003 invasion
During Tony Blair’s time in office, Downing Street allegedly ordered former defence secretary Geoff Hoon to burn a secret memo that questioned the legality of the 2003 Iraq invasion. Hoon makes this shocking claim in a memoir.
In disclosures that have boosted ongoing attempts to strip the former prime minister off his recently conferred knighthood, Hoon reportedly revealed that Blair’s chief of staff Jonathan Powell had instructed him “in no uncertain terms”To destroy any legal documents.
Blair discredited the allegations when they first came out in 2015 “nonsense.”Hoon, however, has revived the claim in a book called Tell-All. ‘See How They Run’,The Daily Mail reports that Hoon has provided details of a sex relationship. According to the Daily Mail, Hoon provided information about a “cover-up”At Downing Street.
According to the former Labour minister, he was given a copy. “very long and very detailed legal opinion,”Peter Goldsmith was the attorney general at that time. “under conditions of considerable secrecy”He was told to do so “not discuss its contents with anyone else.”
It could be described this way “not an easy read,”Hoon stated that he “came to the view”The memo was eventually approved after multiple readings. “not exactly the ringing endorsement”The war effort the British military chiefs and government had wanted to see. Goldsmith had apparently written that the invasion would be lawful only if Blair believed it was in the UK’s national interest.
When my Principal Private Secretary, Peter Watkins, called Jonathan Powell in Downing St and asked what he should now do with the document, he was told in no uncertain terms that he should ‘burn it.’
Hoon stated that Watkins and he defied orders to store the memo in an unlocked safe at the Ministry of Defence. Hoon noted that the memo is not a legal document. “probably still there.”
While Blair has yet to comment, Powell has denied ordering Hoon to burn the memo, telling the Daily Mail that, at Goldsmith’s request, he had asked the former defence secretary to “destroy”A separate “minute”question about the legality and legitimacy of an invasion sent several months ago.
This is because nearly 750,000 people signed an internet petition to remove Blair from his knighthood. Blair’s deployment of British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq has been a source of controversy for anti-war activists.