I’ve just read the article above, and was immediately struck by this quote:
Releasing the papers would do “serious damage” to Cabinet government, he said, and outweighed public interest needs.
Now I am very aware that certain information could be damaging to national security, and that information should be secured for a period of time until it is no longer damaging. We see this kind of secrecy all the time, especially in recent years when 50 year secrecy orders from World War 2 and the Cold War period have expired.
However, Jack Straw isn’t claiming that national security is at risk, he is claiming cabinet government is at risk. I for one have a problem with this since he was a part of the cabinet at that time. This is akin to a criminal being on the judicial bench of his own trial. How can the British people think this is anything other than a cover up. As David Howarth the Liberal Democrats justice spokesman said the decision was
“more to do with preventing embarrassment than protecting the system of government”.
By relying on a veto and making a mockery of the Freedom Of Information act (An act that was a manifesto commitment of the Labour Party in the 1997 general election) in this way just reinforces the opinion that Jack Straw, and this Labour Government, acted illegally and with undue haste in the run up to the Iraq war. If there was nothing to hide then the information could be released, even if some information needed to be expunged from the record to maintain national security.
Yet again we see another example of New Labour duplicity, and yet another event where the outcome is a weakening of British law, a weakening of our trust in government, and the misleading of the British people.
For further comment see:
- Guardian Online – Jack Straw’s decision to veto publication of Iraq minutes a disgrace
- The Telegraph – Jack Straw bans release of Iraq invasion minutes