Cabinet Office slammed (again) over Brown advice on Chilcot

by Chris Ames

Digest contributor Chris Lamb has won another – and hopefully final – battle in his attempt to uncover the truth about why the Inquiry was set up as it was. The judgement is a complete humiliation for the Cabinet Office, which has wasted thousands of pounds of public money pursuing a case that has zero merit.

In May Chris won an information tribunal ruling ordering the Cabinet Office to disclose the secret advice that officials gave then prime minister Gordon Brown in June 2009 about the composition and remit of the Inquiry. This could show why it was set up without the ability to reach a judgement on the legality of the war.

But the Cabinet Office failed to comply with the order and eventually secured a stay while its request for the upper tribunal to hear an appeal was considered.

In a decision published yesterday the upper tribunal judge refused permission to appeal, throwing out every ground the Cabinet Office floated.

Dr Lamb’s own skeleton argument concludes with the submission that “there is next to no merit in the Cabinet Office’s case in seeking permission to further appeal and that what it wants to do is re-run the first appeal because it strongly disagrees with the conclusions and judgment properly made by the FTT”. For the reasons set out above, I have to say that I agree with that analysis (although I would prefer to say simply “no merit” rather than “next to no merit”).

The ruling is also highly critical of the Cabinet Office’s behaviour after the original tribunal and expresses some bafflement at what it sees as incompetence but was perhaps cynical stalling.

Unfortunately the Cabinet Office still has the possibility of an application to the High Court for judicial review and a further stay of around three weeks in the meantime. Given how badly they have lost, it seems inconceivable that they could try again. But you could (and I did) have said that last time.





5 comments to this article

  1. Lee

    on November 2, 2016 at 7:55 am -

    They will simply destroy anything incriminating and release relatively anodyne stuff. Why is there even any doubt about this ?

  2. Peter Beswick

    on November 2, 2016 at 11:59 am -

    Q Who is this idiot wasting taxpayers money?

    A Ben Gummer

    From Wiki

    “Paymaster General Minister for the Cabinet Office

    In overall charge of and responsible for the work of the Cabinet Office. Public sector efficiency and reform, digital transformation of government, civil service issues, industrial relations strategy in the public sector, government transparency, civil contingencies, civil society, cyber security, UK statistics”

    In 2014 he wasn’t entirely rational, he thought Assad had gassed his own people when it was known the US was responsible, he thought maternity care was better in Ipswich than London, he thought having a child was bliss and magical unless of course you happen to have a baby in a place where Britain is dropping bombs.

    This is the guy in charge of government transparency.

    “War is Work!”

  3. Peter Beswick

    on November 2, 2016 at 5:49 pm -

    “Tony Blair went ‘beyond the facts’ in the case for Iraq, says Chilcot
    Appearing before parliament’s most senior committee, Sir John Chilcot said Tony Blair’s conduct in the buildup to the Iraq war did long term damage to British politics”

    And the damage to British politics will continue whilst politicians and civil servants use a different definition of “liar” to the rest of us.

    How can it be that Blair was told of the likely disastrous consequences of Saddam being toppled (before he was toppled) and even passed on those specific concerns to Bush and still say he (Blair) and the rest of us were informed of those consequences through hindsight, and somehow not be a liar?

  4. Lee

    on November 3, 2016 at 12:46 am -

    “Chilcot said he absolved Blair of the gravest charge frequently made against him: that he had deliberately set out to “deceive parliament and the public”. The former prime minister was to blame in that he used his “very real powers of advocacy and persuasion” in support of a dubious case for war.”

    Why did he absolve him ? Blair DID deceive parliament and the public. No one can argue that. So if it wasnt deliberate, what was it ?

    “Chilcot accepted that on the eve of his crucial speech to parliament in March 2003, seeking approval for invasion, Blair genuinely believed Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.”

    What does “accepted” mean ? How does he know it was “genuine” ?

    What we have here is Chilcot appropriating the history of Blair and Iraq and making it his own proprietary possession. He is building myths based on what he considers his own superior insight, rather like St Paul did in creating the myth of Christianity. Its an absurd and unseemly indulgence.

    In simpler language, its a load of bollocks and he is a tosser.