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The press release quoted Britain's then ambassador to the UN, Sir Jeremy Greenstock, who said the "political and moral authority of the UN is not to be cast aside lightly".
The date of the release was 9 April 2002, the day after Mr Blair completed his two-day summit with Mr Bush in Texas. The implication is that immediately after the Downing Street official spokesman had denied that the meeting was a "council of war", the Government was investigating the legality of such a war.
The issue is now being raised by the Liberal Democrats, who are concerned about the sudden urgency of ministers' inquiries immediately after the summit with President Bush. "To be asserting the authority of the UN when there were discussions about possibly breaking the UN Charter is double standards at the very least," said their foreign affairs spokesman, Sir Menzies Campbell. "It underlines the need to know precisely when this request [for legal advice] was made."
Such an early commitment to war in Iraq by Mr Blair, who insisted well into the following year that British military options remained open, would reinforce speculation arising from a book published last week by Philippe Sands QC, a leading international lawyer. It repeats allegations that the Attorney General was "leaned on" to change his legal advice when the war was imminent.
It also emerged this weekend that Special Branch police questioned opposition parties in December about leaked documents on the war. The move to crack down on leaks is thought to be an attempt to prevent the full text of the Attorney General's advice from emerging, as well as further documents relating to the period nearly a year earlier, when Britain and the US were discussing "regime change" in Iraq.
Quote: GazzBut said: Perhaps the cynics amongst us may say that the wars against those other wicked evil doers Iran and Syria are already 'done deals'.
Only time will tell...
-------------------- "Their is one overriding question that concerns us all: How can we get out of the fatal groove we are in, the one that is leading towards the brink?" Albert Szent-Gyorgyi
"We may not be capable of eradicating the corruption of reason, but we must nevertheless counter it at every instance and with every means." Dan Agin
"Politics is the best religion and politicians are the worst followers."
-It's ok to trip as long as you don't fall.
-Substance over Style.
-Common sense is uncommon.
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