Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chilcot Must Call Brown as a Witness

I keep hearing that the Chilcot Inquiry won't call Gordon Brown as a witness in the Iraq Inquiry. I find this incredible. Surely the man who was the second most powerful man in the Blair government (some would say the first) and who held the pursestrings is a material witness. If he had stood up to Blair and said no, it is almost inconceivable that Blair could have gone ahead and proceeded as he did.


steveal said...

I am in despair at the thought of another inquiry.
I sat watching the BBC interviewing endless people who all seemed to think it was 'essential'.
I cried out for the interviewer to ask each one "what were the main findings of the Butler inquiry?". Or "tell me some of the recommendations of the Hutton inquiry".

The only people who remember these enquiries are the lawyers who make a lifetime of money in a year or two.

Steve (Who hopes to live to see the publication of the bloody Sunday enquiry - that should satisfy all sides. Taxpayer's money well spent...).

Anonymous said...

Hutton looked like a 'change from the norm when he started'. But his conclusion and assumption were a clear 'get out of jail free card' for Bliar and took down the innocent; Guiligan. Shame on Hutton and the media who did not dissect his report adequately and expose it's failings which were evident if you cared to look.

Chilcot has been given the license to write his own terms of reference. Therefore he has NO constraints as to who he asks and what subjects they are asked about. Failure will only go th show another cover up that Broon delayed as long as he possibly could.

Dobson said...

You are correct Iain, he should be called.

Cogito Dexter said...

If it happens I dare say there'll be a range of excuses - from the fact that he's a sitting prime minister and it's not 'good form' to have him attend to the fact that during the period in question he made himself practically invisible and therefore not 'publicly involved' (which is of course utter rot for the reasons you've stated).

You can expect nothing less when it comes to slip-slithery Brown (as influenced by Mandelson).


Enlightened Despot said...

Yes if you want to play the party politics game of trying to pin all blame on the current target, but Brown was not a central player in the decision to go to war. More important that the Inquiry nails the issue over which Hutton and Butler skated - the encouragement from No 10 to the JIC to make the intelligence more attractive. One email (from Jonathan Powell, I think) stated that the intelligence was not sufficient to justify going to war - in other words, we've made the decision; give us the evidence to justify it. That must be Chilcott's focus.

Anonymous said...

We can probably assume, then, that Brown did not oppose the war.

Anonymous said...

They said it will not be a whitewash, Iain.

How I laughed.

Not a sheep said...

I wouldn't place any credence in Blair or Brown's evidence as witnesses unless a) they are under oath and b) they are wired up to a lie detector.

Man in a Shed said...

This makes the inquiry look like another stitch up.

Labour initiate the inquiry whilst they are in office, to stop it being too damaging, but make sure it reports after the general election so they can bypass the verdict of the people yet again.

Labour don't have any shame left in them any more.

David Boothroyd said...

Why do you want to compromise the independence of the inquiry by ordering it to call a particular witness? As a point of fact the inquiry is proceeding chronologically and doesn't appear to have decided its list of witnesses beyond the early period (2001-02).

It's amazing how many people are already preparing themselves for this to be the fifth, or is it sixth, inquiry to find that Tony Blair honestly stated what he believed to be true, and are already denouncing it as a whitewash.

Twig said...

If we were not living in a corrupt faux democracy it would be a reasonable assumption that Brown would be quizzed.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps best to ask Chilcot?

Weygand said...

I don't see your logic.

It seems likely that Brown had little input into what happened, because (for very different reasons) he and Blair wanted it that way.

The enquiry should be about what happened rather than being distracted by counter factuals, such as "What if Brown had said No?"

It will be difficult enough to get to the truth as it is.

Chris Paul said...

Should Michael Howard be called too? And other senior Tories?

It is in fact very conceivable that Brown would have expressed "douts", as Straw did. But, despite being ferociously anti-war on this one and on Afghanistan too I don't think these things do much good for anyone. And I think condescending Tory comment is really quite bizarre when the Tory party supported the war no matter what was in the dossiers or not. Just about everyone who voted for war knew that the dossiers were crap. There was a very good alternative dossier produced by Alan Simpson and Milan Rai, among others.

Chilcot must do what he can against his task - calling Brown and Blair and Howard and whoever he sees fit - not listen to opportunistic conbloggers chatting fart.

Unknown said...

This inquiry is sounding even more like an establishment stitch up with every announcement.

How does Chilcot know he wont need to call more ministers as witnesses to collaborate or question any inaccuracies in Blair's evidence?

Pete Chown said...

Yes, this is actually one of the reasons I can't vote Labour, even with Brown in charge. Blair couldn't have done Iraq without Brown's support or at least acquiescence.

If Brown, as chancellor, had said that we couldn't afford a war in Iraq it couldn't have happened--the markets would have made sure of that. If he had resigned, he would probably have taken Blair with him. He might even have become Prime Minister sooner than he actually did!

Desperate Dan said...

There are two members of the Jewish community on the Chilcot Enquiry panel. This suggests to me that the Enquiry will be a pointless and expensive cover-up.

Anonymous said...

Chilcot may not share Sir Iain's presumption that the 2nd Iraq War was an error.

Hopefully he will examine the matter more objectively.

Gordon Brown is likely to give evidence on what he knew of the matter surely? But not every cabinet minister will be expected to repeat what all the others have said.

An Inquiry is not another punitive blog.

BigDaddyMerk said...


Blair didn't give toss what his Chancellor thought and would have gone ahead regardless.

This is silly political posturing again because you want Brown to go and defend the indefensible so your lot can use it as a stick to beat him with during the General Election

Grow up.

Zach Johnstone said...


But I imagine any preoccupation with the integrity of the evidence that Blair presented to the Commons in 2003 had little to do with Brown, and surely that is the whole purpose of questioning Blair anyway...

Kate j Norden said...

Have mercy! The Inquiry will have enough on its hands extracting the facts from Blair, without tacking Brown..

DespairingLiberal said...

If you follow New Labour thinking, it is now no longer appropriate for any Minister whatsoever to have any accountability whatever for any matter. That is entirely a matter for whatever quango they have appointed to "take care" (eg, commercially exploit for the benefit of senior staff and contracting businesses) of a given area of public concern.

Therefore from now on, wars will be a matter for OfWar (Chief Executive - G Hoon) and peace will be conducted by OfPeace (Secretary - O. Deripaska - reporting to P Mandleson, Lord Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Church of His Godliness the Broon) via it's local agents, the Diplomatic Service. (Now a wholly-owned agency of R Murdoch Industries).

I trust that is clear.

Anyway, Brown and Blair left it to Alistair to run the various war-planning committees - he was suitably qualified for this important role as War Commissar, having previously served as a cheap porn writer and Daily Mirror journalist.

golden_balls said...

Your allowing your political bias to influence your posts iain * shock horror*

what information would Brown give that Blair couldn't ? As i understand it Blair Straw etc will be giving evidence.

on another topic any comment on DC's Head Honcho Andy coulson while Campbell was always accused of being a bully. he was never found guilty of this in a tribunal.

800K is alot of bullying in my opinion.

illegal phone tapping and now bullying at the workplace !
Quite impressive credentials for head of communications at Tory HQ

or is this something else he didn't know of at the time ?

Norton Folgate said...

I read that all witnesses could be granted immunity from prosecution to get them to talk and the FOI act will not apply.

No real action will be taken against anyone, this enquiry will be just another whitewash.

Chris said...

If Gordon Brown is not called then this just confirms to me that the Sir John Chilcot will merely be paying lipservice to the idea of a rigorous inquiry. It is quite clear that a proper public inquiry is needed, with witnesses compelled to attend and compelled to give evidence under oath. I have grave concerns about the nature of the Inquiry e.g.
i) the individuals on the panel are not independent enough of government, with Sir John being involved in the Butler Inquiry, which many believed was a whitewash ii) there is no legal or military expertise on the panel, which is a basic requirement for any knowledgeable questioning of witnesses to be meaningful iii) apparently witnesses cannot be cross questioned - this seems ludicrous.

Arf said...

Of course he won't. Like every inquiry by this government, the conclusion has basically been pre-determined by stuffing the panel with those of appropriate views (ie rabidly pro-war establishment types). We all know they're not going to probe anything important before the election.

Unknown said...

I know Chilcot can't make his witnesses give evidence on oath, but what would happen if some offered to do so - or even made doing so a condition of their giving evidence?

After all, if they've got nothing to hide, they've nothing to fear - have they?

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Not only that, the Chilcot team includes no lawyers; no one with any experience of cross examination.

This is a recipe for disaster. The committee will ask rambling, discursive questions and the witnesses will give rambling, discursive answers.

And they are not going to call Brown to give evidence!

FFS! Every member of the cabinet, at the time the decision was made, should give evidence.

But then, what are we to expect from a chairman who, initially, was perfectly willing to conduct the whole thing in private?

Cynic said...

If they called him would you believe what he said?

Ben said...

The juxtaposition of you calling for Gordon Brown to be included in the Iraq Inquiry with the Pizza Advert immediately underneath it is a little bit weird. Admittedly the adverts are on rotate, so not everyone will be confronted with that specific situation but, politics aside, at best it is bizarre and at worst it is a shame.

waymore said...

Nemesis beckons for Brown. From his squandering of our gold reserves, butchering the UK economy, gerrymandering in assembling a client state, complicity (albeit tacit in public) in illegal wars and using innuendo and deceit while propagating his "son of the manse" bullshit, restoring the c***k Mandeson to cabinet....ad nauseum.

He is a political cadaver, Tick, tick, tick; a nation awaits the definitive version of Downfall.

Mirtha Tidville said...

He would just deny ever speaking to Bliar about it and blame everybody else for the mess.......just like he always does

Madasafish said...

Why the excitement?
Despite protestations, I guarantee:
the whole affair will last longer and cost more than first estimated
it will be a complete waste of time and space.

After all, anyone with any brains can see the evidence:
no WMD
a shambles
more shambles
lots of lies about why in Parliamnet.

And nothing is done.

In a normal functioning democracy Mr Blair would be in jail for contempt of Parliament.

Sinbad the sailor said...

Are you really suprised? I'm not.

Good offer at B&Q by the way on whitewash for the next few months

Anonymous said...


Q: Who appointed the Commissioner?

A: Gordon Brown.

Q: Will Gordon Brown be called?

A: Not if Chilcot wants to remain Commissioner.

Unsworth said...

Why 'must'? Is he not a participant in the Great Game?

Unsworth said...

@ Chris Paul

"Just about everyone who voted for war knew that the dossiers were crap."

Really? So all those MP's knowingly and deliberately voted for an illegal war and to deceive the electorate.

Where's your evidence?

Unsworth said...

@ Martyn

So Blair didn't give a toss - and Brown colluded? Or did Brown not know? Or did Brown think he could alter the course of the war from within Treasury?

Hardly likely. Still, if Brown is not called to give his evidence we'll be none the wiser. If Brown has nothing to hide then he won't mind answering a few pertinent questions will he? Nothing to lose, after all.

Anonymous said...

The evidence for Saddam’s chemical weapons and so forth was “extensive, detailed and authoritative” – he had used them.

Anonymous said...

Suggestion that Gilligan was innocent is a real joke.

At the best he released the view about the aerial photos without further corroboration which guaranteed that it would be traced back to Dr Kelly eventually.

Alex said...

quietzapple said...
"The evidence for Saddam’s chemical weapons and so forth was “extensive, detailed and authoritative” – he had used them."

I think you will find that you can't use them twice. When they are gone they are gone.

And the ones that you don't fire go off after a few years.

DespairingLiberal said...

The BBC says today that Chilcot is likely to call Brown as a witness.