Goldsmith complained about 'legality of war' statement
Attorney General Lord Goldsmith complained that Ministers put him in a "difficult position" by claiming Britain could use force against Iraq without a further United Nations mandate, it was revealed today.
Lord Goldsmith warned a year before the 2003 invasion that he was not aware of evidence of an imminent threat which would justify military action without UN Security Council authorisation, a letter released by the Iraq Inquiry showed.
He wrote to Geoff Hoon in March 2002 complaining that the then-defence secretary had given an interview in which he made a "clear statement" that Britain would be "perfectly entitled" to use force against Iraq without a specific UN resolution.
Lord Goldsmith pointed out that he had not been asked at this point to advise on the legality of possible military action against Saddam Hussein.
He said he would not want to give a definitive statement without full background information, but stressed that he saw "considerable difficulties" in justifying the use of force on the basis of self-defence.
The letter, dated March 28 2002, followed an interview Mr Hoon gave to Jonathan Dimbleby in which he referred to the legal position on military action against Iraq.
Lord Goldsmith wrote: "I noted that you made a clear statement that we would be perfectly entitled to use force without a specific United Nations resolution and that there is no legal necessity to go back to the United Nations.
"As you are aware, the Law Officers' opinion has not been sought on the legality of possible action and I have not therefore offered any views on the legal position.
"The clarity of your statement and the apparently authoritative way it was produced puts me however in a difficult position."
- 1 Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins line-up as final celebrities revealed
- 2 Notting Hill Carnival: Woman shares selfie after being ‘punched in face for telling man to stop groping her’
- 3 Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
- 4 Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
- 5 George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Oil tanker with $100 million cargo goes missing off Texas coast
George Galloway left with severe bruising after attack in Notting Hill by man 'shouting about the Holocaust'
Brother and sister, Christopher Buckner and Timothy Savoy, arrested for 'committing incest after watching 'The Notebook''
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage
- < Previous
- Next >
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: HAMPSHIRE MARKET TOWN - A highly attr...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...
Highly Attractive Package: Austen Lloyd: A VERY HIGH QUALITY FIRM A high qual...
£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...