Insights from the UK and beyond
Iraq cabinet minutes remain secret
Justice Minister Jack Straw has blocked the release of cabinet minutes on the subject on the grounds that to open them up would undermine democratic decision-making. If ministers thought everything they said in cabinet was going to be made public, his argument ran, they might be reluctant to express their full and frank views and therefore the principle of collective cabinet responsibility would be undermined.
The Information Tribunal had ordered the disclosure of the minutes of two key cabinet meetings, on 13 and 17 March 2003, when the legality of the invasion was being discussed. Anti-war groups have always suspected that the cabinet failed to discuss properly or challenge the decision to invade Iraq.
Iraq was a war entered into without any need for self defence and without any united international front against aggression, opponents of the conflict say. The legality of going to war was a crucial point and suspicions have persisted ever since 2003 that the then Attorney General Lord Goldsmith was “leaned on” by Tony Blair to declare the invasion legal even without a second United Nations resolution.
Do you believe Jack Straw has a point about the need for confidentiality here?