03/06/2003

PM rejects calls for public inquiry into WMDs

The Prime Minister has rejected fresh calls today for an independent public inquiry into the nature of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Instead it is expected that Mr Blair will formally task the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC) to investigate the issue in the Commons tomorrow.

In lobby briefings today, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman said that the ISC inquiry was probably already under way. He then reiterated Mr Blair's statement at the G8 conference in Evian, France, saying that if people had hard evidence to back up counter claims on WMDs then they should present it.

He added that the government's evidence on Iraq's weapons would be produced in due course.

The spokesman also said that suggestions the intelligence service's dossier on the Iraqi threat, presented in the build up to war, had been exaggerated to look "sexier" were "entirely false".

He then repeated the Prime Minister's belief that there was "no doubt" that Saddam Hussein had WMDs and had been continuing to manufacture them.

The former Leader of the House, Robin Cook, who resigned his Cabinet post in the run up to war, renewed calls for an independent inquiry following the decision to launch a similar probe in the US.

(GMcG)

Related UK National News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

19 January 2011
Release Of Bush Blair Memos Vetoed
The public disclosure of a number of secret memos between former Prime Minister Blair and ex US President Bush, sent during the run up to the Iraq invasion, has been blocked. The potentially politically volatile memos were determined to be made public as part of the ongoing Chilcot Inquiry into the war by the inquiry chairman, Sir John Chilcot.
20 July 2007
Blair 'pleased' by honours inquiry ruling
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has said that he is "very pleased" by the news that the cash-for-honours inquiry has ended with no charges being brought.
21 January 2011
Blair Testifies At Iraq Inquiry
Tony Blair has been called for a second time to give evidence in the Iraq Inquiry. Earlier this year, the former Prime Minister defended his decision to go to war, saying that Saddam Hussein was a "monster" before stating that he had no regrets. However, the inquiry have requested "more detail" in some areas.
02 February 2010
Cabinet 'Misled' On Iraq, Says Short
A former 'rebel' cabinet minister has said her colleagues were "misled" into believing the Iraq invasion was legal. Appearing before an inquiry into the war today, Clare Short claimed Attorney General Lord Goldsmith's legal assessment had been "leaned on".
08 June 2010
Owen Confirms Bloody Sunday Preview
The families of those killed and injured in Bloody Sunday are to have advanced sight of the official report before the Prime Minister makes his statement on the matter to the House of Commons on Tuesday, 15 June.