Thursday, June 07, 2007

Early Day Motion 1607



Baron, John

That this House believes that decisions regarding British involvement in wars or conflicts must be based on reliable intelligence and accurate public information; further believes that the September 2002 dossier, Iraq's Weapons of Mass Destruction, played an important part in making the case for military intervention in Iraq; notes the existence of an early draft of the dossier written by Mr John Williams, a press officer at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, at the request of Mr John Scarlett, Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, on 9th September 2002, one day before Mr Scarlett produced his own first draft; further notes that there is no evidence that this document was disclosed to the Hutton Inquiry, which examined allegations that intelligence assessments were exaggerated by press officers; further notes that the Government has refused, despite parliamentary questions and a Freedom of Information request, to publish the Williams draft; further notes that the Information Commissioner has overruled the decision of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to withhold the document, and that the Government has appealed against this ruling; further believes that the truth about the production of the dossier needs to be known; and calls on the Government to publish the Williams draft to help hon. Members and the public make an informed judgement about the influence of press officers in the presentation of intelligence before the invasion of Iraq in 2003.


Press Release

John Baron MP calls on Government to publish draft Iraq dossier

MP tables cross-party Commons Motion and secures debate on the role of spin doctors

John Baron MP is calling on the Government to publish the draft Iraq dossier of 9th September 2002 written by John Williams, a press officer at the FCO – which recent evidence shows John Scarlett requested prior to producing his own first draft on the 10th September. For some reason, the Government is reluctant to do so – despite a ruling against it by the Freedom of Information Commissioner.

John said:

"It is important that a proper assessment is made of the influence of spin doctors in presenting the case for war, which is why the publication of this document is vital. If the Government has nothing to hide, then it should release the draft – which, after all, was originally intended for publication."

"There is little doubt in my mind that, in the lead up to war, possibilities identified by the intelligence services were turned into near-certainties by politicians desperate to convince the public and Parliament of the need for military action. Spin doctors appear to have been involved in this process."

"This issue is important because the decision to go to war in Iraq is still costing lives today, and we must endeavour never to go to war on a false premise again. This is why we must put the spot-light on the role of spin doctors during this episode."


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