Conflict over Iraq export evidence
Tuesday 09 November 1993
Both men have given contradictory accounts of a conversation which led to William Waldegrave, former Foreign office minister, being told MI6 believed machine tool exports by the Matrix Churchill company were for civilian purposes.
The MI6 assessment contradicted earlier intelligence which warned that the lathes were for Saddam Hussein's missile programme. As a result, Mr Waldegrave was unable to resist pressure from Trade and Defence ministers to permit the exports in 1989.
Simon Sherrington, a former Iran desk officer in the Foreign Office, told the inquiry yesterday an MI6 officer referred to as Mr O, said latest intelligence suggested the lathes were to help rebuild Iraq's war-ravaged industry.
As a result he wrote a briefing to Mr Waldegrave saying the arguments for preventing the exports were 'finely balanced', referring to an organisation that 'is now dedicated solely to the post-war reconstruction of Iraq'.
He insisted the words were based on the latest intelligence given to him by Mr O, checked verbally with the intelligence officer before going to Mr Waldegrave. He said he also sent a draft copy to Mr O and at no time did anyone in MI6 challenge the report's conclusions.
Mr Sherrington's claims are contested by Mr O in written evidence. Christopher Muttukumaru, the inquiry Secretary, said: 'Certainly there is a dispute about the nature of the assessment and whether it was checked prior to the submission going to ministers.'
The hearings resume later this month.
Exclusive: World’s most pristine waters are polluted by US Navy human waste
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Any terrorist seizure of the plane ‘would have required one hell of a piece of planning’
Croatia's second city to close 'worst zoo in the world' after reports of 'nightmare' conditions and 'depressed' animals
Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Hijackers, pirates or suicide – the theories surrounding the mystery
Oscar Pistorius trial: Photographs of Paralympian splattered in blood after Reeva Steenkamp shooting shown in court
Katie Hopkins continues campaign to become Britain's most hated talking head with poorly timed Bob Crow tweet
No EU referendum under Labour: Ed Miliband to reveal that vote on membership is ‘unlikely’ in next Parliament if party wins power
Grace Dent: Who cares if she spells it Barraco Barner? Gemma Worrall is more employable than some bookish arts graduate
The rise of Ukip: Study warns Labour that Eurosceptic party's electoral base now 'more working class than any of the main parties'
Europeans have ‘got whiter’ due to natural selection in past 5,000 years, scientists say
Fracking is turning the US into a bigger oil producer than Saudi Arabia
- 1 Is your name now 'banned' in Saudi Arabia?
- 2 Exclusive: World’s most pristine waters are polluted by US Navy human waste
- 3 Nemanja Matic interview: My family were in tears when we left Lisbon
- 4 Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Jet ‘hijacking’ began soon after take-off
£50000 - £60000 per annum: Charter Selection: This well respected and exciting...
£40000 - £50000 per annum: Charter Selection: This exciting company and market...
£40000 - £60000 per annum + EXCELLENT SALARY: Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Cli...
£25,000 to £35,000: IT Connections Ltd: Signal Processing Engineer / Acoustics...