Foreign Office must not block publication of Iraq secrets

Critics of the Iraq War say the secret document may be the source of the ’45 minute’ claim in the Government’s Iraq dossier

Jo Swinson has urged the Government not to block the publication of key document containing information on the lead-up to the Iraq war.

In a judgment passed earlier this week, Information Commissioner Richard Thomas ruled that Foreign Office Ministers would have to make public a secret document about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

The document, drawn up by former senior government spin-doctor John Williams, could shed light on the origin of Government’s claim that Saddam Hussein was able to launch biological warheads in 45 minutes.

However, Ministers at the Foreign Office retain the power to block the Information Commissioner’s ruling if they judge that it is not in the national interest.

Speaking in a debate on security in the Middle East in Parliament today, Jo urged Ministers to abide by the decision of the Information Tribunal. She said:

“This week at a tribunal, the Information Commissioner said that the Government should publish a secret document drawn up by John Williams, the FCO’s top spin doctor at the time. It may have influenced the dodgy, sexed-up dossier that we know so much about.

“In its ruling, the tribunal said that “information has been placed before us, which was not before Lord Hutton, which may lead to questions as to whether the Williams draft in fact played a greater part in influencing the drafting of the Dossier than has previously been supposed.”

“I hope that the Government will respect the information tribunal ruling and agree to publish that report.”

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