Short stays Privy Councillor despite bugging claims

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Indy Politics

Clare Short will not be stripped of her status as a Privy Councillor for defying an edict by the Cabinet Secretary by giving a television interview about her allegation that Britain spied on the United Nations secretary general Kofi Annan.

But the outspoken former international development secretary may be disciplined if she continues to talk publicly about secret intelligence material she saw in the run-up to the Iraq war a year ago.

Tony Blair is reluctant to turn Ms Short into a martyr and fears that depriving her of her "Right Honourable" title could merely fuel the controversy over her claim that she saw transcripts of Mr Annan's telephone conversations.

There is pressure from some Labour MPs for Ms Short to be stripped of her Privy Council status. Greg Pope, MP for Hyndburn, tabled a Commons motion criticising her for betraying confidences to further her own views. It said: "Membership of the Privy Council is a great privilege and honour ... and with that membership goes a great responsibility to maintain the confidence of the office."