Review of Intelligence on Weapons of Mass Destruction

From Powerbase
(Redirected from Butler Inquiry)
Jump to: navigation, search


Lord Butler of Brockwell headed the five-member committee which included senior parliamentarians and civil servants with military and intelligence links:

Criticism of impartiality of Members of the Committee

Private Eye magazine expressed misgivings against members of a committee personally appointed by Prime Minister Tony Blair. The magazine was particularly critical over the choice selection of New Labour Party politician and close acquaintance Ann Taylor, writing "Taylor is hardly a disinterested observer: she was herself involved in the famous 'September dossier' that explained Blair's reasons for going to war."

On 18 September 2002 an official in Blair's office sent this memo to chief of staff Jonathan Powell and Alastair Campbell: "The PM has asked Ann Taylor to read through the dossier in draft and give us any comments. He stressed that it is for her and for her only and that no one else outside this building was seeing it in draft. I'm contacting John Scarlett to work out how this should happen — needs to be tomorrow."

Taylor went to Scarlett's office at 8 o'clock the next morning, read the dossier and gave her comments to the spy chief — who then passed them on to Blair. She advised that it "needs to come across as an impartial, professional assessment of the threat", and that the PM should "undercut critics" by explaining why Saddam should be stopped now.

So the only person outside No 10 and the JIC who was trusted to help with the dossier (and who also expressed a wish to see Blair's critics undercut) is now sitting on the inquiry into its contents. One wonders why Blair didn't go the whole hog and add Alastair Campbell to Lord Butler's team of independent inquisitors.[1]

Lynne Jones (MP) was also critical of Taylor's involvement in subsequent inquiries, stating: "It is self-evidently bad practice to appoint someone to a committee when their previous conclusions are under scrutiny".[2][3] A piece in the Western Mail was more direct, noting of a joke that followed the publication of the report: "When you call the Butler, you get what you ordered".[4]



  1. Iraq crisis, & what the Butler will not see] Private Eye. Issue 1100. 20 February - 4 March, 2004.
  2. Counterclaims on Iraq's WMD The Guardian. July 23, 2004
  3. The 'uranium from Africa' claim June 17, 2004
  4. "Man behind the report", Western Mail, July 15, 2004.