Tory MP: Hutton Report a Mutton’s Retort

Yeah, that Boris Johnson of Lord Black’s stable purees the Hutton report:

Let us remember how this affair began. On Tuesday September 24, 2002, Tony Blair stood in the House and waved a document of which he had high hopes. “The threat of Saddam and weapons of mass destruction is not American or British propaganda,” he said. “The history and present threat are real.”

Coo-er, we all thought and, as we riffled through the pages, we found the most chilling detail of all. “The document discloses that Saddam’s military planning allows for some of the weapons of mass destruction to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them,” wrote Blair in the foreword.

Wow, we thought: 45 minutes from attack! Cripes, said a banner headline in the Evening Standard: “45 minutes from attack”. In so far as these claims made sense, they were piffle. …

Public and Parliament were presented with justifications for war that (a) did not reflect the opinions of those who knew most about Iraqi weapons; and (b) had been in key ways embellished by Alastair Campbell. Neither of these staggering facts would have come to light, had it not been for Andrew Gilligan. …

You do not have to oppose the war – and I supported the removal of Saddam – to see that is news worth reporting. What makes the Government’s conduct contemptible is not just that it denied the story, but found the source of the story and put him before the public, in the hope that he would help it quash it. Unable to deny the story, but ashamed to confess that he had been the source, Kelly killed himself.

Whatever Hutton says, Mr Blair has behaved with great slipperiness, not so much for his role in identifying Dr Kelly, but in then denying his role. WMD has been Blair’s ERM. He asked everyone to believe in what turned out to be a fraud. He has lost the trust of the people, and of his backbenchers. As for Andrew Gilligan, he had an important, accurate and exclusive story, and should be reinstated forthwith to his job on Today.

(Thanks to Richard Wall for the link. Oh, and speaking of misinformation, I’ve decided to wait ’til Monday to run my next essay.)