Blair had no factual evidence of “material breach”

by Chris Lamb

I have finally received a reply from the Cabinet Office to the freedom of information request I first made in June relating to disclosure of information that would show evidence for Tony Blair’s “unequivocal view”, on 15 March 2003, that Iraq was in “further material breach” of its treaty obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1441. This was one of the key decisions that committed this country to military force.

The reply shows that no official record was made of the factual evidence upon which Blair’s “unequivocal view” – conveyed in a letter from his private secretary Matthew Rycroft – relied. It holds no such records. As the Cabinet Office is connected to the Office of the Prime Minister, this would also apply to the Prime Minister’s Office.

It should be remembered that the Chilcot Report made it clear that Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, emphasized the necessity for “strong factual evidence” to corroborate any such alleged ‘further material breach’. The basis for legal force under the US revival argument (which was drafted into Operational Paragraph 4 (OP4) of UNSCR 1441), in Goldsmith’s view, required such strong factual evidence.

Here is a transcript of the chronological narrative from Section 5 of the Chilcot Report which directly addresses these issues: Readmore..