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Baroness Crawley: My Lords, perhaps the noble Lord, Lord Wright, could frame a question.

Lord Wright of Richmond: My Lords, I beg the pardon of the House. I do not deny that Iraq may now
 
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be a better place without Saddam, but let us not forget that the removal of Saddam was never given by Her Majesty's Government as the justification for war. On the contrary, we were told again and again that it was not the policy of Her Majesty's Government to change other people's governments. Is that still the policy of Her Majesty's Government?

Baroness Amos: My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Wright, is correct. What the report does is to flag up places where the process is flawed. In his press report, the noble Lord, Lord Butler, spoke of the 45 minutes claim, saying that it was an uncharacteristically poor piece of assessment. The report makes it absolutely clear that there are some flaws in the process, that these need to be addressed urgently and that there is a great deal of learning to be done within that. The report goes into a great deal of detail. The four case studies used at the beginning of the report—in particular in relation to Iran, AQ Khan, Libya and North Korea—establish the context in which this work was being developed.

I cannot accept the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Wright, as regards pressure being put on the intelligence community or on the Joint Intelligence Committee, and the Butler report is absolutely clear on that point.

Turning to the issue of the second UN resolution, at the time I was myself a Minister at the Foreign Office. We worked assiduously to get a second UN resolution, but it was absolutely clear that a resolution which contained within it any kind of ultimatum with respect to the length of time that was going to be available to Iraq would not pass. That was the point at which our strategy needed to be revised.

Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale: My Lords, will my noble friend the Leader of the House join me in welcoming this very comprehensive and good report from the noble Lord, Lord Butler? In particular, will she join me in welcoming the fact that there was nothing in respect of this report which calls into question the legality of the war?

I draw attention to the fact that in paragraph 379 the report recognises that the Attorney-General's advice was,

If the violation of 16 Chapter 7 UN resolutions is not legal justification for military action, I do not know what is.

Does my noble friend agree that, although the report found deficiencies in the validation process of some Iraqi intelligence, the fact that it concluded that the four case studies made of Libya, Iran, North Korea and AQ Khan were all success stories for the SIS demonstrates that the doubts cast on the overall efficiency and performance of the SIS are misplaced? Certainly that is not the opinion of the report.

Baroness Amos: My Lords, my noble friend is right. The report points clearly to the four success stories
 
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used as case studies. My noble friend is also right to point the House in the direction of recognising the professionalism and good work of our intelligence services.

Let me remind the House of UN Security Council Resolution 1441. It decided that,

That resolution was passed unanimously by the Security Council.

My noble friend Lady Ramsay is quite right to say that the report in no way calls into question the legality of the war. Paragraph 379 sets out absolutely clearly the basis on which my noble and learned friend the Attorney-General gave advice.

The Lord Bishop of Salisbury: My Lords, if I am right about what the Minister said, the Prime Minister is quoted as saying,

In a case such as this, where a considerable amount of damage has been done to our credibility as a country in terms of truth telling and the public accountability of our institutions, it is quite important to have those words in the report. There clearly is more to be learnt; I hope that in due course we shall have answers to some of the questions raised by the noble Lord, Lord Strathclyde, and the noble Baroness, Lady Williams.

However, at a fundamental level, it is most important that the House should hear unequivocal answers to major questions about the order in which events took place; just where people changed their minds and just where the Prime Minister was responding to invitations, not only from within our own intelligence services but from other parts of the world, to change his mind. I think it is always helpful if people can be persuaded to say whether they are going to change their minds. Can the Minister tell the House just when any of these changes of mind took place?

Baroness Amos: My Lords, as has been said by myself and my noble friend Lady Symons on many occasions when answering questions on Iraq, we are well aware that there are differing points of view about the war. It has been made absolutely clear in the Statement that we need to respect the fact that people come to this issue from different positions. We have now had four reports and everyone is looking for something to answer the questions that they have in their minds which they feel have not been answered by the Hutton report, by the Butler report, by the ISC report or by the report of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.

It is clear from all four reports that there are lessons that the Government need to learn and take on board but, as regards the questions that have been raised about the integrity and honesty of the Government in respect of the case that we made to go to war in Iraq,
 
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it is absolutely clear that the Prime Minister and the Government acted with integrity. The Butler report and the Hutton report make that absolutely clear and the question was not raised in the parliamentary committee reports. When will the House and those who did not agree with the action that was taken accept that fact?

Lord Garden: My Lords, does the Leader of the House accept that, while we do not necessarily question integrity, we do question judgment? There is now an excellent report from the noble Lord, Lord Butler, which shows that containment in March 2003 was operating satisfactorily; Iraq was not at that time a threat to the United Kingdom, its citizens or even to the region. And yet we sent everything we had—

Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen: My Lords, I really do feel—

Noble Lords: Order!

Lord Garden: My Lords, we sent 43,000 of our soldiers, sailors and airmen to kill or be killed into—

Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen: My Lords—

Noble Lords: Order!

Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen: My Lords, noble Lords do intervene. I feel strongly about this issue.

Baroness Crawley: My Lords, as the House will know, it is absolutely in order to make a brief comment, followed by a question or a number of questions. I am sure that we shall be as brief as we can be.

Lord Garden: My Lords, we sent 43,000 troops to kill or be killed and yet the report makes it clear that we did not look again at the intelligence when Hans Blix was in the country and able to give us up-to-date information. Does the Minister think that we should have reassessed the intelligence before the eleventh hour in March 2003?

Baroness Amos: My Lords, the noble Lord will be aware that the JIC makes reassessments of its intelligence all the time. That is the way in which it operates. As to the wider question raised by the noble Lord, I draw his attention to paragraph 474 on page 116 of the report, which refers to the validation of the intelligence. The report states:


 
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That is the conclusion of the Butler report on the validation of intelligence.


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