Tony Blair 'lied' to his Cabinet and misled Parliament over the war in Iraq, Clare Short, the former international development secretary has said.
By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent
The Telegraph - UK -Giving evidence before the Chilcot Committee into the war, she repeatedly accused the former prime minister of personally “misleading” and “conning” her, and of being “deceitful” with Cabinet, Parliament, and the public.
Miss Short claimed that Mr Blair broke the ministerial code by misleading Parliament, and accused Lord Goldsmith, the former attorney general who gave the “green light” to war, of failing to tell the Cabinet the truth of his reservations about the legality of an invasion.
When she tried to ask questions in Cabinet, Miss Short was “jeered” at, and Mr Blair told her to “be quiet”.
By then, Miss Short said, Cabinet government had broken down, and ministers were reduced to having “little chats.” She rejected a claim by the ex-prime minister, who gave evidence last week, that “substantive” discussions had taken place, or a formal Cabinet “endorsement” given for the war.
Miss Short disclosed that after deciding to quit in protest at the failure to secure UN support for the invasion, she had booked time with the Speaker of the House of Commons to deliver a resignation statement to Parliament.
But before she could resign, she was talked round by Mr Blair, who did not want her to quit on the same day as the late Robin Cook, the then-Leader of the House.
Two months later, she claimed, she realised that she had been “conned” by Mr Blair, who had assured her that he had persuaded United States President George W Bush to make progress on the Palestine issue, and involve the United Nations in post-conflict planning.
The left-wing MP eventually resigned in May 2003, two months after the invasion, in protest at a “feeble” UN resolution approving aid for Iraq secured by the British and Americans.
Nine months earlier, during a visit to Mozambique, Miss Short said that Mr Blair had “misled” her by denying that he had made preparations for war in Iraq. In fact, the inquiry has heard, he had already held talks with advisers in July of that year.
She said: "He told me in Mozambique 'I haven't had a presentation, I will come back to you, don't worry.' Clearly that was one of the many misleading things that were said."
Later, once the decision had been taken to stop seeking a fresh UN mandate for the war, Miss Short said that the then-prime minister and his advisers put the word out that the French had been planning to veto any resolution.
She added: "That was in my view a lie, a deliberate lie. It was one of the big deceits."