What they said

The Scott Report
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The Independent Online
Sir Walter Scott (no relation): "O what a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive."

Baroness Thatcher to the inquiry: "Most of the documents before me [at the inquiry] I have never seen. I was concerned with the big issues."

Robin Cook, Labour's former trade and industry spokesman, pre-inquiry: " I personally find it extremely difficult to accept that we can arm Saddam Hussein to find out how well armed he is."

Alan Clark, former defence and trade minister, on the 1984 export guidelines, to the inquiry: "A brilliant, magnificent piece of drafting". They were like "the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland - high sounding, but drawn up imprecisely and as elastic as the English language would tolerate".

Alan Clark at the inquiry: " I certainly don't want to land former colleagues in it, Mr Waldegrave least of all . . . One is back to a slightly Alice in Wonderland situation where I remember Mr Waldegrave was saying because something hadn't been announced, it hadn't happened."

Michael Heseltine (quoting Churchill) on officials ordering him to sign immunity certificates: "Up with this, I will not put." On reading Whitehall export documents: "It seemed everybody knew."

Douglas Hurd, former Foreign Secretary, to the inquiry: "By definition, ministers are not going to reach down [for information] because they do not know what there is to reach for."

David Gore-Booth, head of the Foreign Office's Middle East Department (1989-93), to the inquiry: "Of course half a picture can be accurate."

Eric Beston, senior DTI official, to the inquiry: "I think the way in which questions are answered in Parliament tends to be something of an art form rather than a means of communication."

John Major in 1992: "There have been some extraordinary stories about this matter and I agree with him [John Smith] that they must be clarified beyond any measure of doubt."

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