CHILCOT REPORT: Blair's cabinet did not see conflicting opinions on whether war was legal or not


Tony Blair’s cabinet was not shown legal advice that presented conflicting opinions on whether going to war against Iraq was illegal or not.

This is the relevant section of the Chilcot Report:

  • Cabinet was provided with the text of Lord Goldsmith’s Written Answer to Baroness Ramsey setting out the legal basis for military action.
  • •That document represented a statement of the Government’s legal position — it did not explain the legal basis of the conclusion that Iraq had failed to take “the final opportunity” to comply with its disarmament obligations offered by resolution 1441.
  • Cabinet was not provided with written advice which set out, as the advice of 7 March had done, the conflicting arguments regarding the legal effect of resolution 1441 and whether, in particular, it authorised military action without a further resolution of the Security Council.
  • The advice should have been provided to Ministers and senior officials whose responsibilities were directly engaged and should have been made available to Cabinet.

The 2.6 million-word Iraq Inquiry, often dubbed “the Chilcot Inquiry,” is the culmination of a huge investigation that was launched by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown in 2009 into the United Kingdom’s involvement in the war in Iraq. The report, which is estimated to have cost over £10 million of taxpayers’ money, has been chaired by former senior civil servant Sir John Chilcot.

The seven-year investigation into the United Kingdom’s decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 covers political decisions made between 2001 and 2009 relating to the run-up to the UK’s intervention, the military action itself, and the aftermath of the conflict.

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