LONDON — The UK government’s chief lawyer is allegedly trying to block an attempt to prosecute former prime minister Tony Blair for his role in the Iraq war.
Attorney General and Conservative MP Jeremy Wright QC has formally requested to be included in hearings to oppose any attempt to prosecute the former Labour leader, the Guardian reports.
The report claims Wright is intervening to derail a legal campaign relating to the invasion of Iraq in 2003 that seeks the trial of Blair, then foreign secretary Jack Straw, and former attorney general Lord Goldsmith.
The private prosecution wants the trio to be convicted of the crime of “aggression” and is based on the findings of last year’s Chilcot report into the contentious invasion of Iraq, led by the UK and US.
In leaked documents seen by the newspaper, Wright argues that the case against Blair lacks legal basis as aggression is not a crime in English law, although it does exist in international law.
A spokeswoman for Wright did not confirm whether he would block the attempted prosecution but told The Press Association: “He is seeking to intervene in this case because it raises issues about the scope of criminal law.”
She added: “It is not unusual for the Attorney General to intervene in these sort of cases in order to represent the public interest.”
The Chilcot Report into the UK’s role in the Iraq War concluded that Blair exaggerated the threat posed by then-Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein before initiating the invasion and presented a case for war based on flawed intelligence.
The report also exposed a letter Blair sent to then US President George Bush in which he wrote “I will be with you, whatever” in the run-up to the invasion.
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