The Obsolete man

Posted in Politics by earthling on February 28, 2014

An excellent “Twilight Zone” episode called “The obsolete man”.

Who is the strongest? The individual or the state?

Names flashed into my mind watching this. Such as Tony Blair, Cameron, Obama, Rothschild and Rockefeller and all the rest you can imagine yourself. All the state actors and all their little minions who consider themselves “great” while they too, one day, wither and die. And you wonder, how would they deal with the tables being turned on them? They would soil themselves. They would beg for mercy. They would crawl like the little, pathetic worms they are and their weakness would manifest itself if they were removed from their protective cocoon which is the state apparatus.

They have wealth yes but not one of them – not one – has integrity, strength of conviction, morality or even a fixed ideology. They are empty vessels with no innate, individual capability. Everything they have has been provided to them by the state because they’re willing to do as the state wishes. But I’ve always said that when the state has no more use for Blair or any one of them, the state will hang them out to dry. Even if this state continues and achieves its world order, I only hope for one thing: That I live long enough to see a Blair or a Clarke, Cameron or Bush or Obama be hung out to dry by the very state they served. Now that would be worthwhile hanging around for.

An assassination of one of them would be fun too but not nearly as fun as seeing their beloved state hang them. 🙂

The disease within.

Posted in Paedophilia by earthling on February 25, 2014

From the annals (or was it anals?) of Lord Fingerboy of Fuckinghamshire……



My Lords, we must protect the Crown and the good name of this Parliament! At present, we have a law against homosexuality and my noble Lord Boothby is, himself a homosexual. We know, among us, there are many more and what is imperative is for us to come to agreement, once more, and legislate for homosexuality so as to ensure none of our noble Lords, Members of Parliament, Judges and others within our establishment, find themselves open to coercion, bribery and blackmail. That would not do my Lords! The public must be assured that their parliamentary representatives act within the law otherwise all is lost. To ensure this, we must legalise our perversions! All say Yay! {{{{{YAY!}}}}}

LORD BOOTHBYAs I see it, the main object of this Bill is to avoid blackmail. We know that there are more cases of blackmail in connection with homosexuality than anything else in this country. I suggest to your Lordships that if this Amendment is passed, the main object of the Bill will be destroyed. We are out to avoid blackmail. I have consulted a number of eminent solicitors in the course of the last three months, some of the most eminent solicitors of all. They have said this to me and I think it is a point, “If anyone who occupies a position of public responsibility, or is in a position of public notoriety, came to us and said he was being blackmailed, rightly or wrongly, with reason or with no reason, for homosexuality, we should very much hesitate to advise him to fight the case. On balance, we should advise him to pay. But if it were Mr. John, or Mr. Smith, or Mr. Jenkins, of Wolverhampton, or Leicester, or perhaps even Edinburgh, someone who was of no importance at all, he would pay his fine of £.10, and that would be the end of the matter, and there would be no headlines in the newspapers at all”.

I sincerely believe that this is absolutely wrong. Any young man in this country is in a position to blackmail a man who is in a position of responsibility, or who is a well-known figure in this country. I have been advised—I assure the noble Earl, and I am sure he would agree with me; I cannot mention names but they are the very best solicitors—that in these cases the probability is that they would say, “Pay, and finish with it, because we can give no guarantee whatever of any safety or security”. That is what I want to avoid in this Bill above anything else.

§LORD CHORLEYIt seems to me that the two noble and learned Lords who are supporting this Amendment so strongly are so emotionally involved in this problem that they have lost the sense of proportion that lawyers ought to bring to bear on matters of this kind. The idea that something ceases to become consent because there is a gift attached to it is completely new in the whole domain of English law. It is a most astonishing proposition. They go on to say that men of over 21 years of 396age are no longer to be free agents. They are to be curbed in this sort of way by the law. When they look back on this debate in a few weeks’ time I think they will be puzzled to know how they could be led to such an emotional situation. It has never been suggested in the whole of history that men over 21 should not be free agents in respect of what they decide to do and that they should be curbed in this way. On the face of it, it is a proposition that I should have thought would not hold water for a minute.

§LORD CONESFORDI have heard more astonishing law from the last two speakers than I have heard during the rest of my legal life. It would seem that the noble Lord, Lord Chorley, is under the impression that bribery is no offence.

§LORD CHORLEYIs the noble Lord suggesting that this is a case of bribery? It is not within a mile of bribery.


§LORD CONESFORDThe noble Lord, Lord Boothby, flits from pillar to post with such rapidity, reversing what he said in his last speech with every new speech he makes, that it is difficult to keep up with him. The noble Lord, Lord Boothby, said that an eminent solicitor, wisely nameless—

§LORD BOOTHBYMore than one.

§LORD CONESFORDMore than one solicitor advised a person who was being blackmailed to pay up. I can only say that the most eminent practitioner in the law at the time I first began to practise told me that from time to time he had been consulted by people who were being blackmailed. He had always given the same advice—pay nothing and tell them to be damned. He said, “I know that my advice was right, but it was seldom taken”.

I am in complete sympathy with the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor and, so far as I understand him, with the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, in loathing blackmail. What astonishes me in this whole controversy is the quite extraordinary view that, if we pass this Bill or something like it, the blackmailing of homosexuals will cease. Why on earth should it? The noble Lord, Lord Boothby, said, quite rightly, that to a 397public man a reputation of being homosexual could be very harmful. Therefore, the revelation that he is a homosexual—

§LORD BOOTHBYI really must protest against that. I never said that I was a homosexual—”The revelation that I was a homosexual”.

§LORD CONESFORDI said nothing of the kind. The noble Lord is not always the person concerned if he is concerned at all. I shall perhaps be saying something of what the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, did earlier in this debate, about which I had intended letting him off.

§LORD BOOTHBYBe careful.

§LORD CONESFORDI will be careful. If it is damaging to a public man to be known to be a homosexual, whether it is a criminal offence or not, the blackmailer can make a threat of revealing the fact, and that threat may be so severe that it may be worth buying off with money. Therefore, it is untrue to say that the mere passing of a Bill of this kind will end the risk of blackmail in connection with homosexual offences.

I share what I am sure is the hope of the Lord Chancellor, that if there is a reform of the law, blackmail will diminish; but I do not put it higher than that. Can we not get some of the advantages of a reform of the law without opening the door to something that everybody in the House, whatever his views on this problem, would think horrible—namely, a rich man using his wealth, not to buy affection, but to buy the commission of what has hitherto been a serious criminal act? That, as it seems to me, is a real risk. It is against that that my noble and learned friend Lord Dilhorne has devised this Amendment. It may he imperfect; there may be objections to it; but I am sure it deserves more respect than it has hitherto received.

Since I promised that I would deal with the noble Lord who has so consistently interrupted everybody who has been making a speech on this subject throughout this afternoon, let me come to the noble Lord, Lord Boothby. At an earlier stage in the proceedings, on the very first Amendment to-day, the noble and learned Lord—

§LORD BOOTHBYI am not learned.


§LORD CONESFORDNo; but Lord Dilhorne is. My noble and learned friend Lord Dilhorne said that in earlier proceedings Lord Boothby had misrepresented to the House the nature of this Bill and the nature of the Report of the Wolfenden Committee. This was indignantly denied by Lord Boothby.

§LORD BOOTHBYHear, hear!

§LORD CONESFORDVery well. Then I would recommend Lord Boothby to acquire a copy of the Hansard of May 12 of this year, and to turn to column 131. He will there find that he interrupted my noble friend Lord Rowallan with these words: All we are talking about is the Labouchere Amendment, and that is all that the Wolfenden Committee wants to be removed.”—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 266 (No. 73).] Lord Rowallan said: I am afraid that I cannot accept such a statement. Then Lord Jessel said this: My Lords, if the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, had been here a little earlier, he would have heard from my noble friend Lord Dundee a very full description of what happened. Then I intervened for, until this evening, the only time I have intervened on this topic, as follows: My Lords, I am not taking any side in this intervention, except to say that the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, is entirely wrong in saying that all we are discussing is the Labouchere Amendment, or that that was the sole subject of the Wolfenden Report.

§“LORD BOOTHBYOf course it was.

§“LORD CONESFORDOf course it was not.”

At that point the noble Earl the Leader of the House very properly intervened with the suggestion that Lord Rowallan might get on with his speech. I hope that the quotation I have made from the previous intervention of the noble Lord, Lord Boothby, will show how utterly wrong he was in suggesting that my noble and learned friend Lord Dilhorne had misrepresented him in any way in the speech that he made, and I hope that possibly what I am saying now may induce him to—

§LORD BOOTHBYKeep his trap shut.

§LORD CONESFORD—to remain in a sedentary position until he has something worth while to say.


My Lords, I am now 49 years older as I stand here before you once again, but we must protect the Crown and the good name of this Parliament! At present, we have a law against paedophilia and a few of my noble Lords, Ladies and among those in the other place, we know as we did in the 1960s regarding the homos, are pedophiles.. We know, among us, there are many more and what is imperative is for us to come to agreement, once more, and legislate for paedophilia so as to ensure none of our noble Lords, Members of Parliament, Judges and others within our establishment, find themselves open to coercion, bribery and blackmail. That would not do my Lords! The public must be assured that their parliamentary representatives act within the law otherwise all is lost. To ensure this, we must legalise our perversions once more! All say Yay! {{{{{YAY!}}}}}

However, as was done in the sixties and seventies, we must lay the groundwork for the population to come to terms with such activity. We must use every weapon at our disposal – from media to human rights pressure groups – to impress the legality, morality and normality of such acts. We must ensure that the public recognises such as simply another sexual orientation.


Holy shit! The Prime Minister has just fcuked a donkey! My Lords, I am now 110 and I sit here before you with my colostomy bag but I still believe in our greater good. We must protect the good name of this Parliament even though just an inconsequential satellite of the World Zionist government on Temple Mount. At present we have a law against bestiality and a few of my noble Lords……… actually, you know what? I’m done with you fcuking perverts!

But our good old boy, Icke, can see totalitarian tiptoe’s and connections everywhere but he can’t see it in this? I guess it doesn’t fit his agenda! 😉

“Hush it up, get rid of it, protect the Crown, the Parliament and our entire way of life from the public otherwise they may want to lynch the whole lot of us!”

You’re damned right we do!

Mirror paedo judge

God gave us the sun to harness for tax purposes!

Posted in "Climate Change" by earthling on February 24, 2014

I just wanted to re-publish this blog having read the following which backs up what I was saying in the blog, written perhaps a couple of years ago.

Off grid is illegal

As I said below, they cannot allow the world, meaning people individually or in groups, to generate their own power and utilities. But you would think, on the face of it, that that is what “Green Energy” and using free sunlight and harnessing water etc was all about wouldn’t you? But no, it isn’t and never was. Please note that you are only provided with a tariff discounting structure IF you have your solar system installed by a REGULATED installer. PLUS, it must be a GRID TIED system and, generally, you are not allowed to operate a system which has a storage battery facility if you wish to participate in the tariff scheme. You see, a storage system would allow for the energy received by the panels during the day which is excess to what your daytime usage is, to be stored in batteries which would then allow your energy requirements during the evening (no sun) to be delivered via the batteries. That would mean that you would never need to rely on the grid. THEY CANNOT HAVE THAT! So then, even though solar energy from the sun is free, they ensure that most of the solar (or wind) STILL is connected into the grid and, as such, they have the excuse for taxing the sun and the wind and any and every other resource which exists in the universe.

Once this person publicized what they were doing, that’s when the system’s “jackboot” came down. The odd few people can get away with it if they’re silent and discrete but, under no circumstances, can they allow freedom to catch on.

The rest of the article is here:

Before you read the rest, please have a listen to this (just the section from 10.53 to 11.53).

And if you want more detail on what these two were discussing, it’s all here and it is truly inspiring…

Now he believes Global Warming is real. Nevertheless, real or not (and it isn’t – certainly not from an AGW perspective), he’ STILL thinking and doing the right things. He’s visionary.

So here’s the rest of the blog from a couple of years ago….

Since when did you ever hear of Solar plants being built in the North Sea and throughout the UK’s offshore interests?

You didn’t did you? What a STUPID idea Earthling!

And indeed it is! Absolutely ridiculous!

And that is why the UK is now cutting Solar incentives! You see, while the Green renewable age began with the Club of Rome’s “Limits to Growth” (a MUST read for all you Friends of the Earth and Greenies) followed by “The first  Global Revolution” we can’t possibly have this:

“In a time of economic gloom, the solar industry has been one of the UK’s brightest success stories, enabling homes and communities across the country to free themselves from expensive fossil fuels.”

Because that isn’t what this game is about you silly “Environmentalists” who support etc (Rockefeller funded organisations). It’s not to FREE you! How extraordinarily naive of you! Why would those who dreamed up this entire scheme and who own and control the world’s energy resources, wish to then allow you to live freely of them? Are you seriously nuts?

The game is to “reinvent” energy but in a way that these people will still control it whether it is natural Free energy from wind or from sea or solar. If we all became self sufficient for goodness sakes, these people would lose $billions if not $trillions. Come on folks! Think will you? Finally?










Have a read:  the-crown-is-profiting-from-your-misery-fuel-bills-anyone




And here was you thinking Monopolies were illegal! It’s not only the monopoly of currency issuance by the Bank of England but also the total monopoly of the National Grid. Are you beginning to see why?


HC Deb 14 February 1995 vol 254 cc792-6 …

Mr. Blair   Following the Prime Minister’s welcome commitment last Thursday to reducing inequality, may we now put it to the test? As the national electricity grid is an absolute monopoly subject to no competition, will the right hon. Gentleman act against the excesses of the few regional electricity chiefs who stand to make £50 million out of share options on the back of it?

§The Prime Minister   I have to say to the right hon. Gentleman that I find much of his opposition to share options rather synthetic since a good deal of his leadership campaign was financed out of the proceeds of share options.

Now one must remember, reading the above, that your Energy “supplier” does not supply at all. THAT is a “legal fiction” and they don’t like you to appreciate that! If you “change suppliers” do you think for one moment you are getting a completely different supply of gas and electricity through your system? 🙂 It ALL comes from the same source and that source is the National Grid. It is the National Grid which is your SUPPLIER. So your “supplier” (and for that matter, the government) are letting you, in your ignorance, believe little fables. The Energy “suppliers” are basically a consortium of Customer service and maintenance people who provide you with “competition” on tariffs from exactly the same source!

There’s a lot more about that little angle but perhaps for another blog sometime!

High Court application against UK solar incentive cuts

12 December 2011

The UK High Court has agreed to hear applications by Friends of the Earth and solar companies Solarcentury and HomeSun for permission to challenge Government plans to slash financial incentives for solar electricity on Thursday 15 December 2011.

By Kari Williamson

Confirmation of the hearing follows an earlier High Court ruling rejecting permission for a legal challenge. The organisations are now asking the High Court to reverse the decision and allow a hearing into the legal challenges regarding solar incentive cuts as soon as possible.

Friends of the Earth is also asking the High Court to cap its potential legal costs for the case. International rules specify that costs should be limited in public interest cases on the environment.

The legal challenges centre around the plans by the UK Government to slash feed-in tariff subsidies for solar photovoltaic (PV) installations completed after 12 December this year.

The Government is currently running a consultation into feed-in tariffs – but the 12 December cut-off point comes two weeks before the consultation ends.

Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins, says: “We strongly believe Government plans to abruptly slash solar subsidies are illegal, we hope the High Court agrees to allow our case to be heard as soon as possible.

“We’ve also asked the High Court to cap our potential costs. International rules say this should be allowed in public interest cases on the environment – we can’t afford to bring a challenge if we face unlimited liability for the other side’s legal fees.

“In a time of economic gloom, the solar industry has been one of the UK’s brightest success stories, enabling homes and communities across the country to free themselves from expensive fossil fuels.

“It’s short sighted for Ministers to move the goalposts and prematurely pull the subsidy – this will cost tens of thousands of jobs, bankrupt businesses and reduce Treasury income by up to £230m a year.”


Meanwhile, you may want to give this a little ponder because, once this infrastructure is in, there is no need to pay tariffs to Energy companies. It is truly self sustaining with just the need for maintenance. And very little of it.

Once the investment is sunk, why is there need for ongoing bills?

The answer: There isn’t!

Robert Green: What is he up against?

Posted in Media, Paedophilia, Uncategorized by earthling on February 22, 2014

I can’t say I KNOW this man inside out, therefore I could not honestly say whether this man would have an agenda or a “dark” background with skeletons in his closet. But then not one of us can say that we fully know each other EVEN IF we are “close friends”. Let’s be frank, there are always things about oneself that one keeps to oneself, whatever they may be or however petty they may be. People just naturally, wish that part of them remain private and that’s how it should be.  So, when it comes to assessing another individual, we – if we are fair minded – tend to accept that individual, not on the basis of 3rd party rumour, but on how WE find them. How WE, as individuals relate to them and, when we know little about them except what we may read or hear, we SHOULD consider that we have no direct experience of them with which to judge them, so we should take them on face value.


You and I can look around us any day of the week and judge people for how they dress, look, speak, act etc and I’ll freely admit, I see a lot of people who I’d never wish to have any association with whatsoever – there are masses of such people I hate to admit (and I hate to admit it because I also know they are the way they are due to the environment they live in caused by a system and government which I despise. I know that under a new system and government, such people would be significantly nicer people to know because they would not have the world bearing down on them and, because I believe that people, generally, deep inside are good people). However, I would take my chances on Robert Green before I would trust a single politician, judge or Policeman in this country of any colour.

Ok, what’s the point here? Well it’s this, of all those people who would repel me and I’d feel they have no morality, no respect for themselves or anyone else and I would neither trust or expect them to act on good intentions, Robert Green would not be one of those people. I met Robert once, fleetingly, in Scotland while also meeting Hollie Greig and her mother, Anne. It was at a time I was absolutely shocked to the core about all I was learning about a whole range of issues and, when Hollie’s story came to my attention, I felt compelled to do something…anything (though you feel helpless in reality). I met with my MP, I sent letters to the Scottish government. I called the scottish government and I also called the newspapers. I saw Robert Green – a mild mannered, conscientious, upstanding, well dressed gentleman – doing what he could to expose what he genuinely felt was the most heinous of crimes. I read the background info re the Hollie case and, while there were issues I later saw in some of it which I felt were questionable regarding the veracity of it all (I said “questionable” NOT incorrect or lies) but I then also witnessed what I could only describe as a venomous campaign on Facebook and elsewhere by “Hollie supporters” that ended up like some sort of circus and the whole thing I just decided to shelve. The whole picture, for me, became so murky. Was that due to infiltrators trying to make it so? I don’t know – I gave up on it all. However, it is a fact that Hollie was abused – we know that – and it is a fact that she has named names – we know that. It is also a fact that she was stated as a credible witness – we know that too. I also know that the very MP (MSP in fact) that I went to to discuss the matter with and presented him with a report on it from my perspective, did nothing with it. I followed up with him for responses and got nowhere while he had promised I would receive one from the Scottish government.

Who was that MSP? This man:



Now, there’s nothing unusual about MPs doing FUCK ALL when you contact them with grave issues and demand they consider your facts and act upon them – or even enter a communication regarding them – BUT WHEN THE FOLLOWING HAPPENS, YOU WONDER IF THE LACK OF RESPONSE HAD ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT:




I wrote the above blog shortly after the news about Colin Chisholm being charged with paedophilia (and let off by the way even though he admitted he was so inclined). I asked in the blog whether there was a connection. I knew the answer. So you tell me? Could I genuinely have expected Malcolm Chisholm to lift a finger to support an investigation into the Hollie Greig case?

It’s worth mentioning that my entire audio recording with Chisholm was lost when the Scottish Police (prompted by the Metropolitan Police) paid me a visit and stole my laptop, MP3 4 track portastudio, microphone plus a few other pieces have never returned them and yet, never charged me with a damned thing. They had a warrant for search and seizure given by the Procurator Fiscal (so they told me) to conduct an investigation surrounding an online argument I had with an online “jew” who they said made a complaint. Seemingly he felt “racially harassed” because he entered a discussion online long after I had started posting valid commentary and links to sites which exposed jewish/zionist filth of one form or another which he deemed “anti semitic”. You see, similarly to Robert Green’s issue right now, if you talk facts and evidences which expose issues or groups of people, you are targeted for “Hate Crime” of one form or another and “libel” etc. The EXPOSURE of real crimes and real issues is more of a crime than the crimes you are exposing. You could state the same is the case for Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden.


Now, for years/decades, these corrupt bastards in government have gotten away with their “political correctness” agenda and they still are! They have suppressed freedom of speech and freedom of thought by criminalising it. What they have done is brilliant. They have slowly, but surely, entered it into people’s minds that “you can’t say that” and “IF you say this, you are going to jail” (how many germans are in jail today simply for asking questions or stating they don’t believe something? And you KNOW what that “something” is!). And this is where the “sheep mentality” comes in. We, as people, are condoning the use of political correctness (and the power know this) because we are so divided with all our own little beliefs and perceptions (and prejudices), that each group wants to get one up on the other. The powers then make “laws” in such a fashion – connected to the IDEA of “human rights” – that they protect and support one faction against another. It can even be something as simple as this:

If a homosexual proudly states that the idea of pussy makes him want to vomit (and says it in his little effeminate way), it’s considered “funny and cute” and “his prerogative”.

If a heterosexual (particularly male one) states the idea of a dick up his arse makes HIM want to vomit, then he’s labeled and demonised a “homophobe” and “hater”.

Yet, all of this is so bloody obvious it makes my blood boil when people wilfully decide to ignore it.

ALL of these issues are connected to Robert Green’s present predicament.

But let’s look more widely at this problem:

Here’s Miley Cyrus –

Miley Cyrus

What age group is her audience? What are parents saying or doing about it? What is the industry she works for doing about it? What are the authorities doing about it?


What message is that sending to kids? “You’re a sexual being now go out and enjoy it. You’re cool as fcuk if you are fcuking at 11 years old you know! And it’s fun!”

Then you have the “Darlings of International human rights” at the moment, supported by slags like Madonna and other male pop stars like Sting and Peter Gabriel who are, obviously, as thick as fuck or, perhaps, they like little boys and girls? Who knows! Perhaps Sting likes a little tantric with a 10 year old? Who knows?

Pussy Riot:

You see, all of this “Human Rights” shit is being used to totally destroy any sense of morality in the world. Ok, I’ve spoken about men fcuking donkeys right? But what you will see in that video is a PUSSY RIOT (of all the names they could use eh?) bitch having what amounts to sex with a DEAD CHICKEN and Madonna supports them because Madonna stands there and states (as if she has any moral authority) that she supports freedom of speech and freedom of expression. Madonna won’t even blink at another woman sticking a dead chicken in her pussy. She’ll just say “Ahh the girl looks like she’s having a riot!”

Anyone attacking such activity for its moral depravity will be labeled a hater and prude as well as having some form of political agenda. The political agenda, meanwhile, actually belongs to Pussy Riot and their funders.

You see, in “law” (created by the very people who wish to steer society the way they so choose) “Freedom of Expression” and “freedom of speech” are entirely supported as long as it is within the parameters they wish to set AND, also, depending upon which class you belong to – Upper, middle, lower or RULING. Further, if you’re seen as being of use to the agenda, then you will be given every latitude (until such time that they no longer have a need for you or if you have just gone too far that the people demand they deal with you). But generally, you see, the people tend to demand bugger all because they’re taught the “live and let live” and “do what thou wilt” ideology and they PERCEIVE “FREEDOM” within it. Stupid bastards aren’t they?

And then you have Savile, of course. Protected for decades – but then so were the Kray twins – by the police.

And then you have this guy, Ian Watkins:

Ian Watkins



































Told to stop complaining because it would ruin his career! His career is far more important than the lives of numerous little children. A fucking POP singer! So you can imagine just how important it would be to protect Savile, Elton John, Cliff Richard etc etc. THEN think how important it would be to protect Kenneth Clarke and every other MP in Parliament and their extended families. THEN think how important it must be to protect the Queen and her extended family!

So Robert, in trying to expose Scottish establishment freemasonry and every connection to it, THAT is what you’re up against. An establishment which will go to any length to shut you up (and I mean any length) PLUS a population that just doesn’t care and like their “freedom of expression” and will consider you just a zany, sad old man with a screw loose if not a “nasty person” because you’re naming names that their beloved old mainstream media haven’t yet and may never will. At least, until they’re dead and there’s no further much reason to protect them.

Remember, Savile would have been a “Saint” to many, even today, and even though so many knew what he was, if their beloved mainstream media hadn’t run the story.

If you go to jail Robert, the population will read: “Man jailed in Scotland for harassment of elderly people and upstanding scions of our society calling them pedophiles. Man has been given a psychiatric evaluation and is considered a fantasist who believes 9/11 was an inside job. Man libelled and slandered these poor innocent people and you just can’t go around saying things like that. After all, there has been nothing in the papers about these people being pedophiles has there? Society needs to deal with these conspiracy people. The government is considering bringing in a new law which will make it illegal to speak of anything which is not already published in the ZOG media.”

Queen’s own Counsel “kills” the Queen!

Posted in Law by earthling on February 21, 2014

Does this cause anyone to be surprised? Not me Officer Twat of the Mentally challenged County Constabulary!

Ok here we go. How to destroy the British monarchy in a few simple steps.

You probably are aware how much I despise the British monarchy (any “monarchy” in fact but certainly my own) so you’d think the following would be right up my street wouldn’t you? But you’d be wrong because while I understand that Queen Elizabeth is a fraud and has committed treason herself, I also understand that the “Monarch” is an office and exists as such to hold the laws of this country intact and maintain the constitutional arrangements of this country. SHE, personally, has broken her oath so many times – not least the signing of the EU treaties – that she no longer holds validity for that office.

1. First of all, have you ever heard of a national anthem which runs along the lines of “GOD save our gracious Queen…”. Well God, it seems, doesn’t come into it anymore. So who’s going to save the old bitch? Or is it that the “God” referred to in this anthem is not the god and never was the god we understood it to be?

2. The Queen of England’s Coronation oath in 1953:

“Will you to the utmost of your power, maintain the laws of GOD and the true profession of the gospel and will you, to the utmost of your power, maintain, in the United Kingdom, the protest and reformed RELIGION ESTABLISHED BY LAW. Will you maintain and preserve inviolable, the settlement of the CHURCH OF ENGLAND  and the doctrine, worship, discipline and governance thereof, as by the LAW established in England. And will you preserve under the BISHOPS and CLERGY of England and to the CHURCHES there committed to their charge, all such rights and privileges as, by LAW, do or shall appertain to them or any of them?”


The Queen then goes to the alter to confirm before GOD, the promises she has made. She then kisses the BIBLE! She then states that she promises to keep the things she has just taken the oath to do and ends by saying “SO HELP ME GOD”.

Start at 6.15:

3. Couple banned from fostering because they are Christian.

A heterosexual, black couple are banned from fostering a child in the UK while lesbian, gay, bisexual or transexual couples will be welcomed. And you’re telling me there is no homosexual agenda going on in this country?

High Court no christianity


The Queen’s own Counsel, Justice Mumby (a pompous old fart like all these “Justices”) has actually, by making this judgement and stating what he has, “killed” the Monarchy. He has stated there is no place in the law for christianity yet the very Queen, for which he is Queen’s Counsel, only exists in her position because of the above oath. And STILL the mainstream media will not pick up on this and report it as it should. Just like the fact the MSM will not report that David Cameron stated the power lay with the people and not politicians in deciding whether the UK handed over its sovereignty to the EU.

4. Bible banished from courts (almost) by a JEW!

Banish bible from court


The article going on to say the following regarding who is spearheading this “powerful body of judges”: The married 62-year-old was raised in the Jewish faith but now calls himself an atheist. ‘I don’t intend my motion to make any comment on religion,’ he said. ‘It is certainly not anti-religious.’

Oh you bet it’s not!

However, this suggestion by the atheist jew, was not voted through. Nevertheless, it does not matter when you have already made a judgement which destroys the entire basis of the constitution of this country and the fundamental basis on which the laws of this country rests.

When a Judge can make the pronouncement he has and it sticks, then you can rest assured that this country is now, officially, lawless and that the Queen and monarchy now no longer have a justification for their existence.

Justice Munby, you are charged with subverting the laws of this realm and for conspiracy to dethrone the monarch, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. This is nothing short of TREASON Sir. How do you plead?






The ARROGANCE of the Daily Mail and MSM

Posted in Paedophilia, Politics by earthling on February 19, 2014

This story took up the entire front page of the Daily Mail today.

However, the first thing that struck me on reading this piece was the following: “..a vile group that tried to legalise sex with children can be exposed TODAY”!!!!!

The arrogance in that statement is astounding and, frankly, sickening. Who is the editing team and journalist who think for a second that they are EXPOSING anything as a “scoop”? If any of you so called “journalists” read this, this is for you: You bunch of jacked up, self important, controlled little arseholes! The alternative media have been pumping out this information for years so tell me you little dweebs – why now? It’s ALWAYS “why now” with you people because if any of us contact you with any REAL stories such as this or regarding multiple other topics, you use that well worn phrase “conspiracy theory” and any other shit you can think of to get us off the line.

Meanwhile, I have to ask this – it IS relevant – What does the likes of Sonia Poulton say now when she has bleated time and again that her stories get spiked or heavily edited? Has she pushed this story before her editorial team at the Mail before? If not, why not? If they spiked it then why, now, are they releasing it?

Then why is it that all we ever get from these MSM as slickers of the establishment are “One senior source said” while, again, Ms Poulton tells me that no editorial team will publish a story from anyone who is not willing to give their name? Or is it that the media even work on the basis of “one rule for them and one rule for us”? You betcha!

Sonia Poulton:

“Ah. It would almost certainly require full identification including a picture M. My editors will only run anonymous pieces if they involve whistleblowers who are still in the job or people who are involved in sex abuse. We get heavily criticised for anonymous pieces and they are avoided. people say they are made up and it also makes it much harder for people to relate to them. So, in answer to your question, if you wanted this considered for coverage it would require full ID. I will leave it with you to think about.”

Yes the official is still in the job but he/she is hardly a whistleblower when the information has been known about for years. Or is it the source is one him/herself? An abuser that is and involved. If so then why protect the bastard? Anonymous pieces are avoided (by others who wish to give you one massive story – if you understood it) but the number of stories which you report which then use anonymous “sources” to almost create the story – if not fully create it – are legion! They never fcuking end!


Daily Mail PIE


Daily Mail PIE 2


Daily Mail PIE 3


Or is it the Daily Mail just read my blog yesterday? 24 hours before they publish material which is just about fcuking identical but if I say it I’m a “Conspiracy theorist” whereas, if the Daily Mail says it, it’s now valid and “gospel”?

And another thing, Look at that mug of Harman around the time she was involved and compare it with Shami Chakrabarti today. No disrespect to women with shot bobbed hair but why do I look at these two and think “dyke” – no, not Icke, DYKE, straight off the bat (whether or not they’re married with kids). Note that in the article, Chakribarti tries to distance the NCCL today from PIE suggesting it had been “infiltrated” in the 1970s. Bullshit! Otherwise she is stating that the NCCL had to expel pedophiles from its ranks BUT how, then, does she explain and justify Harman’s submissions to Parliament and her description of PIE in glowing terms? Harman’s submission supported its fcuking aims! Therefore, without stating it, Chakribarti has to, whether she likes it or not, be pointing the pedophiliac finger at Harman herself as one of the “infiltrators”. So then, if that is the case, Harman should be slung into jail or sent to Columbia to allow old farmers there to stick their previously “donkeyfied” dicks in her! Hey there Harriet what’s the problem? It’s natural! You might even find a fine ass yourself!

Shami Chakrabarti

Shami Chakrabarti

While this is all just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s think back to Cameron being ambushed by Philip Schofield shall we?

A somewhat satirical view of the confrontation but it made me smile I have to admit. I should say, at this juncture, that I entirely disagree with their satirical presumptions.

While I totally recognise I have been talking recently about beastiality, donkeys etc but look at the mug and the teeth on Patricia Hewitt! You could ride her but it would probably be in the Grand National! “Neigh lad!”

“What the blazes is a natural person?”

Posted in Law by earthling on February 19, 2014
HC Deb 19 January 1993 vol 217 cc271-351

Sir Teddy TaylorDoes my hon. Friend accept that article 57 does not offer opportunities for everyone? The second sentence of paragraph 2 of article 57 refers to training and conditions of access for natural persons. My hon. Friend seems to have studied this matter carefully. As we know from last night, however, the Minister does not answer questions but simply reads prepared speeches. That is unfortunate, but perhaps my hon. Friend can help me. Bearing in mind the reference to “natural persons”, can he tell me what unnatural persons are? Or perhaps some Opposition Member can enlighten us.

This is a very serious point. The Bill with which we are dealing is to become the law of the land. Training and access are to be provided for natural persons but not, apparently, for unnatural persons. What on earth is a natural person? May we have an assurance—

§The ChairmanThe hon. Gentleman must not keep asking the same question. He has asked what a natural person is. Perhaps he will allow his hon. Friend to respond.

9.15 pm

§Sir Richard BodyMy hon. Friend is, of course, right. This just goes to show how difficult it is to translate these documents into some kind of English. At one time I did a little lecturing in company law. We used to talk about “persons”. A person can be a corporate entity. For example, I believe that, in law, ICI is a person.

§Sir Teddy TaylorBut a natural person?

§Sir Richard BodyMy hon. Friend and I are natural persons. I shall not point to anyone who might be described as anything other than a natural person; indeed, all of us here are natural persons. In law, ICI, Unilever, Shell and all other such organisations are persons, but not natural persons.

§Sir Teddy TaylorI have great respect for my hon. Friend, who is one of the wisest people in the House, but I have to point out that he is stating what he thinks the position to be. Is there a definition anywhere? Constituents of mine will probably have to obey these laws. When it comes to training and access, I shall have to ask, “Are you a natural person?” My hon. Friend says that he thinks that he and I are natural persons. Where is the definition? This is not fun; it is a serious matter. All those who say that this Bill should be rushed through should realise that what it contains would become the law of the land. I demand that before we leave this matter we be told, by my hon. Friend or by somebody else, what the blazes a natural person is.

§Sir Richard BodyMy hon. Friend should not be quite so naive as to believe that the people who drafted this treaty, as well as those who will put it into effect, have very much interest in the people of Southend. The treaty 342contains many examples of the way in which it will be very difficult for ordinary people, particularly those who are self-employed, to understand the laws that govern their lives, disobedience of which may result in punishment.

§Mr. CashPerhaps tucked away in this convoluted treaty is a reference to a Euro-person. In the light of previous debates, I believe that we are moving rapidly to the notion of a European culture in which a person will be seen as natural in the European context. This is very disturbing. Does my hon. Friend know of a recent conference in Madrid that was partially funded by the European Commission? We are told that at that conference a certain Dr. Lenarduzzi of the Commission said that the Commission had been seeking to influence education—

They don’t half get themselves in a pickle with this “person” stuff though eh? 😉



HL Deb 10 December 1981 vol 425 cc1436-73

Lord Ross of MarnockIt could happen; it depends on how the council or the new authority conduct their business. I have another amendment later which might be helpful to the applicant—and it is the applicant I am considering as well as the council: we should give them some information as to when things are going to be considered. I appreciate the difficulty of time, and instead of “five weeks” we could have said “two weeks” or “three weeks” What I want is to get licences considered by the authority more expeditiously. We want to be as helpful as possible, certainly in respect of the form, so that people know exactly what is required of them. But I am not fussed about this one and so I am prepared to withdraw it. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

§Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

§Lord Ross of Marnock moved Amendment No. 10: Page 82, line 16, leave out (“a”) and insert (“an individual”).


§The noble Lord said: This amendment is put down because my curiosity is aroused. I am sure that your Lordships will be equally concerned, having read that the line I propose to change is: where the applicant is not a natural person”. The mind boggles! I suppose that it has some meaning in Scottish law, and I am sure that the noble Earl, Lord Selkirk, will rise to the defence of the draftsman. But I warn him that there is a trap here, because we have the phrase elsewhere in this Bill and it is not a question of not being a natural person. What I want to put in is for the purpose of keeping it clear throughout. If you are going to use the correct phrase once, then let us use it right through.

§If my amendment, to include before the word “natural” the word “individual”, is not accepted, then I shall need to move another amendment later to leave out the word “individual”, because the phrase “an individual natural person” is used elsewhere. In my simplicity, I thought that one of them must be right and one of them must be wrong, and that is the reason why I have put down this amendment. So I beg to move to leave out the word “a” and insert “an individual”, so that the line will read: where the applicant is not an individual natural person”.

§The Earl of MansfieldThis is a titillating phrase, and I want to emphasise that I am speaking in legal or drafting terms. By definition, a natural person is an individual human being. There are no other kinds of natural persons. All other persons are of a non-natural kind; for example, companies, local authorities and, to some extent, partnerships. Since there are no kinds of natural persons apart from individual human beings, it is unnecessary to specify that a natural person is also an individual. To do so, indeed, might suggest that there are kinds of natural persons other than individuals. The Licensing (Scotland) Act 1976 speaks of “an individual natural person”, but although the licensing system in this Bill is based on the scheme of the 1976 Act, it does not follow it slavishly and the draftsman departed from the 1976 Act style where he saw fit, which was in this paragraph. So I hope that the noble Lord will accept that explanation on behalf of the draftsman.

§Lord Ross of MarnockI am delighted. Of course, the draftsmen have changed their minds since last year, because the phrase “an individual natural person” was in the draft Bill. I should not be at all surprised, as we go through this Bill, if we find that it is also here. It depends on the draftsman’s mood as to whether it is “a natural person” or “an individual natural person”. I am not going to quarrel, but have I a promise from the Minister of State that if I find the phrase “an individual natural person” later on, he will then remove the word “individual”?

§The Earl of MansfieldI am not normally a betting man but, if the noble Lord turns to Clause 51 (4), I am not sure that he will not hit the jackpot. But be that as it may, the purpose of this is, of course, to distinguish between individuals and corporations. That is the serious part of this. That is why the draftsman has adopted the style that he has.


§Lord Ross of MarnockYes, but the noble Earl has not answered my question.

§The Earl of MansfieldI think the question was—

§Lord Ross of MarnockI know it is there. I have got it marked in Clause 51 (4). The noble Earl surely does not think that something so obvious as this would escape a teacher’s eye. I noticed that the draftsmen used the phrase “a natural person” first, and then, later on, “an individual natural person”. We have had the Minister getting up and explaining why they dropped the word “individual”. I would rather he did it now. When we come to Clause 51, he will need to explain why they replaced the word “individual”. Or has he already promised? Maybe I am a little bit dense on a Thursday afternoon. But later on, when we discuss amendments to Clause 51, are we going to take out the word “individual”?

§The Earl of MansfieldI must not keep the noble Lord in suspense. It is my intention to amend that subsection when we come to it.

Looks like there’s a few of them that just don’t get it – and never will. Democracies are perfect for totalitarianism when the majority just don’t get it and when that majority exists in Parliament itself, then it’s even easier isn’t it?



HL Deb 02 April 1990 vol 517 cc1104-24

Baroness PhillipsBefore the noble and learned Lord replies, I wish to make a small point. Perhaps it is peculiar to Scottish law but I have never before seen a reference to a “natural person”. One is surely not dealing with unnatural persons. I noted that the word “persons” is also used. Is there any reason why the words “natural persons” are used in relation to Scottish law?

The Earl of BalfourMy noble and learned friend will see that subsections (6) and (7) of the new clause refer only to “the Director”. After reading the old Clause 21 I know that that relates to the Director General of Fair Trading, which was there written out in full. However, the new clause does not indicate who the director is and that must be considered at a later stage.

§Lord Fraser of CarmyllieI shall look at the point raised by my noble friend Lord Balfour. As regards the “natural person”, it is envisaged that a professional body will be making applications on behalf of its members who are natural persons and individuals. They will not be other associations or companies but one professional body making applications for its individual members—

§Baroness PhillipsAs a teacher of English, which I assume is spoken over the Border, I believe that reference should be made to “the person”. “Natural person” is an unnecessary and confusing description.

British Government: Dirty, lying, genocidal bastards

Posted in Geo-Political Warfare, The Blair/Iraq Dossier by earthling on February 18, 2014


HC Deb 09 April 1984 vol 58 c21W21W

§Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will ban the export of potassium fluoride, dimethyl methylphosphonate, methyl phosphonyl difluoride, phosphorus oxychloride and thioglycol to Iraq and Iran.

§Mr. Channon

I hope to make a statement shortly.


HC Deb 03 July 1985 vol 82 cc187-8W187W

39. Mr. Nikardo

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what licences have been issued in 1985 for the export of chemical weapons or of weapons-grade chemicals to Iraq.


§Mr. Butcher



HC Deb 24 February 1998 vol 307 c162W162W

§Mr. Flynn

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the volumes and nature of equipment and raw materials exported from the United Kingdom to Iraq since 1980 that are likely to have been used in manufacture of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. [30956]

§Mr. George Robertson

The Ministry of Defence receives export licence applications, referred to it for review, and intelligence on Iraq. Assessments are made of Iraq’s nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programmes and are continually reviewed by technical experts within my Department.


HC Deb 17 July 1995 vol 263 c868W868W

§Mrs. ClwydTo ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what information the United Nations special commission on Iraq has provided to Her Majesty’s Government about equipment sent from the United Kingdom to Iraq which could be used for the manufacture of chemical warfare agents; [35144]

(2) when the list of suppliers of equipment and chemicals exported to Iraq which were used in her chemical warfare programme will be made public (a) by UNSCOM or (b) by Her Majesty’s Government; [35142]

(3) when the information UNSCOM has collected about chemical warfare production in Iraq will be published in full; [35141]

(4) what information Her Majesty’s Government has received from UNSCOM about chemical exports to Iraq from the United Kingdom and other countries. [35143]

§Mr. David DavisUNSCOM inspectors have investigated a wide range of sites in Iraq at which British equipment and products have been found. UNSCOM policy is to give the names of supplier companies in confidence to the member states in which the companies are located. UNSCOM does not make this information public. Nor is it our practice to publish the names of such companies. However, any evidence of wrongdoing is investigated and, if appropriate, will be a matter for the courts.

UNSCOM regularly publishes reports on its work, the latest of which—S/1995/284 and S/1995/494—have been placed in the Library of the House.


HC Deb 31 October 1989 vol 159 cc101-2W101W

Dr. Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what volumes of(a)chloroethanol, (b) dimethylamine, (c) potassium fluoride and (d) dymethylamine hydrochloride have been exported, and to which respective countries, since May 1979; when exports of each respective chemical were halted; and for what reasons.

§Mr. Redwood

Statistics on the export of these chemicals are not available.

A licence has been required to export chloroethanol, dimethylamine and potassium fluoride to Iran and Iraq since 12 April 1984 when these items became subject to control under the Export of Goods (Control) Order. The Export of Goods (Control) (Amendment No. 4) Order 1989 which came into force on 31 July 1989 extended the control on exports of these chemicals to Libya and Syria. It also brought the export of dimethylamine hydrochloride under control to Iran, Iraq, Libya and Syria.


Controls on the exports of these chemicals have been introduced because of the Government’s concerns about the proliferation of the capability for producing chemical weapons. Applications for a licence to export these chemicals to the destinations for which they are controlled are considered on a case-by-case basis in the light of stringent criteria.


HC Deb 25 April 1984 vol 58 c512W512W

§Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many export licences were granted between 1979 and 1984 for the export of chemical warfare defensive equipment to both Iraq and Iran.

§Mr. Channon

It has been the practice of successive Governments not to publish information on export licences issued for particular countries.


HC Deb 13 November 1991 vol 198 cc542-3W543W

§Mr. Gordon Brown

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will list any chemicals with potential military uses which were exported to Iraq in contravention of the arms embargo.

§Mr. Lilley

[holding answer 11 November 1991]: There is no evidence that any chemicals under statutory control have been exported to Iraq in contravention of the statement concerning the supply of lethal defence equipment made by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on 29 October 1985.


HC Deb 09 April 1984 vol 58 c46W46W

§Mr. Kirkwood

asked the Secretary for State of Defence if he will list those companies which have been authorised by his Department to supply either Iraq or Iran with chemical warfare defensive equipment since 1979.

§Mr. Pattie

It has not been the policy of this or previous Administrations to disclose particulars of defence sales. Items which might assist Iran or Iraq to wage chemical warfare during the current conflict will not be granted an export licence.


HC Deb 30 April 1996 vol 276 c442W442W

§Mrs. Clwyd

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what investigations are planned in respect of suspected breaches of United Kingdom export controls following the UNSCOM report on the involvement of British companies in supplying Iraq with the components of chemical and biological weapons. [25663]

§Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

[holding answer 29 April 1996]: Any information from UNSCOM reports passed to Customs and Excise is carefully examined and given appropriate attention. It is not, however, the practice of that department to provide information on any planned investigations lest disclosure should prejudice the effectiveness of any inquiries.


HC Deb 01 April 1998 vol 309 cc589-90W589W

§18. Ann ClwydTo ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster if information on the United Kingdom suppliers of the components of chemical and biological weapons exported to Iraq would be available under his proposed freedom of information legislation. [35820]

§Dr. David ClarkAll requests for information falling within the scope of the proposed Freedom of Information Act will be considered against the access provisions of the Act.


HC Deb 12 April 1984 vol 58 c5405404.21 pm

§Mr. Archy Kirkwood (Roxburgh and Berwickshire)I beg to ask leave to move the Adjournment of the House, under Standing Order No. 10, for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that should have urgent consideration, namely,the export of goods used in the manufacture of chemical weapons. The House will know that a tragic war — the Gulf war — is being waged between Iraq and Iran. This tragedy is distressing because of the number of lives that are being lost daily in the conflict. It is even more distressing because there is evidence that chemical weapons are being deployed. Those who have investigated the allegations have concluded that Iraq has been using chemical weapons and that Iranians have been killed by chemical or biological weapons. The matter, therefore, is urgent.

The matter is specific because the Government have administrative machinery available to them to preclude the export of equipment or substances that can be used directly or indirectly to produce chemical weapons. In spite of that machinery, there is evidence that goods are being exported from Britain to Iraq which could potentially be used for the manufacture of chemical weapons. If that is happening, the United Kingdom Government, wittingly or unwittingly, is assisting and enabling Iraq to have the capacity to acquire chemical weapons.

The matter is urgent because until there is an effective ban it is possible that such goods will be exported from Britain. I was pleased to read today that the Minister for Trade has banned under the Export of Goods Control (Amendment) No. 6 Order the export of a series of chemicals which have been, or could be used in the manufacture of chemical weapons. The Government must be congratulated to that extent and the ban is to be welcomed as far as it goes.

I have evidence that goods such as chemical protection kits and water pumps that could be used in industrial processes for producing these horrific weapons are still being exported. The ban on chemicals is welcome but it is important that the House considers urgently the need to extend the ban from chemicals to the goods that are used in the manufacturing processes.

I consider this matter to be specific, urgent and important. The credibility of the United Kingdom is at stake for it is a matter of international concern. Even at this 11th hour, shortly before the Easter recess, I apply for a specific Adjournment debate forthwith on this important matter.

§Mr. SpeakerThe hon. Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood) asks leave to move the Adjournment of the House for the purpose of discussing a specific and important matter that he thinks should have urgent consideration, namely, the export of goods used in the manufacture of chemical weapons. I listened carefully to what the hon. Gentleman said, but I regret that I do not consider the matter that he has raised to be an appropriate one for discussion under Standing Order No. 10 and, therefore, I cannot submit his application to the House.


HC Deb 10 November 1992 vol 213 cc743-587433.30 pm

§The Attorney-General (Sir Nicholas Lyell)Madam Speaker, with permission I should like to make a statement on the Matrix Churchill case.

As the House will be aware, counsel for the prosecution in the Matrix Churchill case informed the court yesterday that, in the light of the evidence given by Mr. Alan Clark in cross-examination, he had concluded that it would no longer be right to seek a conviction in the case; and that the prosecuting authority, the commissioners of Customs and Excise, had accepted that conclusion. Both he and the commissioners were satisfied that during the course of cross-examination Mr. Clark had given evidence that was inconsistent with a written statement that he had made in 1991 and with what he had said in an interview with an officer of Customs and Excise in September 1992.

The case raises important questions about the operation of export licensing policy in relation to Iraq during the period to which the events related. The Government will therefore ensure that a full and independent inquiry into those events is undertaken by a judge. This will encompass the operations of all relevant departments and agencies. I am glad to tell the House that Lord Justice Scott has agreed to undertake that task. The precise terms of reference will need to be discussed with the judge. It is hoped to make them available to the House later this week. The judge will have access to all relevant papers and will be able to invite evidence from anyone he thinks fit. It will be for him to decide the extent to which he sits in public. His report and evidence will be published except insofar as, in the light of his advice, publication is contrary to the public interest.

The inquiry will be set up and conducted as speedily as possible, having regard to the need not to prejudice any further criminal inquiries or proceedings. On that aspect, I should say that the Commissioners have referred the papers in the case to the Director of Public Prosecutions. Any further action is a matter for them.

Finally, it has been alleged that Ministers, by signing public interest immunity certificates, gave orders that departmental papers should be kept from defence lawyers in an attempt at a cover-up. That is a complete misunderstanding of the law in that area and thus a distortion of the truth. It is the law, expressly enunciated by the courts, that Ministers have a duty to claim public interest immunity either in respect of specific documents or recognised classes of document the production of which would in principle be contrary to the public interest. This duty cannot be waived.

Once a proper claim has been made, it is for the court to look at the papers if it thinks fit, to balance the competing public interests and to determine whether the interests of justice in the particular case require disclosure of some or all of the documents in issue. Such a claim must be made irrespective of whether it is embarrassing to the Government either to reveal or to withhold. In this case, it was at the express invitation of prosecuting counsel that the judge looked at all the material before he made his ruling.

§Mr. John Morris (Aberavon)I welcome the judicial inquiry, but I express my concern that it will be limited to policy. Will it include the conduct of Ministers? I am also 744concerned that the judge will be able only to “invite” evidence. Will he be able to summon witnesses and to have them examined on oath?

The signing of public immunity certificates is a matter to be approached with care and not in a cavalier fashion. Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman consider whether the exercise of the signing of these certificates has been approached in a responsible fashion? Is it not astonishing that, in the pursuit of the purported interest of the state, Ministers who signed public immunity certificates were prepared to connive at the sacrifice of the accused men and render them liable to long terms of imprisonment? On what authority was counsel for the Crown able to tell the court that the documents sought to be excluded contained—I quote a report today— nothing of assistance to the defence”? That was not upheld by the court.

Since controversial matters involving defence exports certainly in my time—I as a Defence Minister had a responsibility for precisely these matters—were decided by Cabinet Committee, did the four Ministers agree together to issue the certificates? What restrictions were placed on the preparation of the case by Customs and Excise in relation to Government Departments and the intelligence services? Are those matters open to be examined without restriction by the learned Lord justice of appeal?

§The Attorney-GeneralI am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for his welcome in this matter. I can tell him that the inquiry will not be limited to matters of policy; it will be able to look into all relevant aspects of the matter, and to invite such witnesses as it thinks fit to appear before it. [HON. MEMBERS: “Invite?”]

The question of public interest immunity certificates was, I believe, looked at with care, but that can be examined by the inquiry if it thinks it appropriate. I have every reason to think that the exercise was approached in a responsible fashion: I have no reason whatever to believe —indeed, I profoundly refute—the irresponsible suggestion of the right hon. and learned Gentleman that Ministers connived in relation to those certificates.

As to the documents which were opened by counsel for the prosecution in the case, counsel, as would have been expected in the light of the public interest immunity certificates, put the matters clearly before the judge, invited the judge to look at the documents and invited the judge, as would be his duty, then to make the ruling, balancing one public interest with another.

§Dr. Keith Hampson (Leeds, North-West)Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that, in paragraph 128 of the report on exports to Iraq, the Select Committee on Trade and Industry expressed deep disquiet at the independence and authority of Customs and Excise? Is it not the case that Customs and Excise is not answerable to the Treasury with respect to prosecuting decisions, nor, unlike the Crown prosecution service, is it accountable to the Attorney-General? Is not that unacceptable unaccountability? Will he review its status?

§The Attorney-GeneralThe important thing is that the Customs and Excise is an independent prosecuting authority and it exercises its judgment independently, as the House would expect.

§Mr. Menzies Campbell (Fife, North-East)The Attorney-General must know that to say that the judge has the power to “invite” witnesses is wholly inadequate. 745What is required is an inquiry held under the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921, which would allow the judge to compel the attendance of witnesses and if necessary to commit them for contempt if they decline to answer his questions. An inquiry with the powers which the Attorney-General has spelt out will be toothless and unlikely to get to the truth of the matter.

Will the scope of the inquiry include an examination of the circumstances that surrounded the Iraqi supergun affair, in which it is increasingly clear that the Select Committee on Trade and Industry was thwarted and frustrated by Ministers and Departments?

Why cannot the Attorney-General bring himself to express some sense of regret and apology to the three innocent men who found themselves in the dock?

§The Attorney-GeneralAs one with responsibilities in the area of prosecution, I am extremely conscious of the fact that the power to prosecute is an extremely invasive power, which must be exercised by any independent prosecuting authority extremely carefully. I recognise the hon. and learned Gentleman’s point in that respect.

The hon. and learned Gentleman should bear in mind that an inquiry under the Tribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921 can have compensating disadvantages as well as the advantages that he pointed out. There is no reason to anticipate that any relevant witness will fail to attend the inquiry carried out by Lord Justice Scott; in view of inquiries in recent years, such as the one into BCCI, it is nonsense to suggest that Lord Justice Scott’s inquiry is likely to be toothless.

§Mr. John Wilkinson (Ruislip-Northwood)I greatly appreciate my right hon. and learned Friend’s readiness to come to the House so quickly and to instigate an independent judicial inquiry. It must be reassuring to know that it will be for the learned judge, not Her Majesty’s Government, to decide what it is in the public interest to make public.

Why did not the three Departments of State, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department of Defence and the Department of Trade and Industry, immediately make known what was ultimately known to the court, thereby preventing the need for this unnecessary trial?

§The Attorney-GeneralI am grateful for my hon. Friend’s welcome for the speedy setting up of the inquiry. As he says, the judge will be able to decide and to give his guidance on the points that he mentioned, including publication?

As to what any Department knew or did not know at any particular time, that is a matter for the learned judge and the inquiry.

§Mr. Gerald Kaufman (Manchester, Gorton)The right hon. and learned Gentleman consistently dodges the questions asked by Opposition Members about whether the inquiry will have the right to summon Ministers—because it is the conduct of Ministers that is at the heart of this scandal.

He said in his statement that the denial by Mr. Alan Clark of his participation in the meeting at the Department of Trade and Industry on 20 January 1988 was inconsistent with the truth—namely, that Mr. Clark had lied. Yet the Prime Minister, writing to me on 17 February this year after I had written to him about Mr. 746Clark’s conduct, wrote back to me upholding Mr. Clark’s denial. Did the Prime Minister make inquiries about Mr. Alan Clark’s resort to untruth and then deliberately purvey his untruth; or did he simply not bother to make inquiries—a different kind of dereliction of duty?

§The Attorney-GeneralYes, the inquiry will have the power to summon Ministers, and I am confident that they will all attend. That is a different question from the powers under theTribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921.

With regard to the right hon. Gentleman’s second point, he clearly has not read his papers or listened carefully to what I have said, because I made no comment on whether Mr. Clark’s denial was at any stage inconsistent with the truth. What I told the House, and what prosecuting counsel told the learned judge when he withdrew the case, was that what Mr. Alan Clark had said in his original statement and what he had said under cross-examination had been different. It will be for the inquiry to sort out the results of that.

§Mr. Richard Shepherd (Aldridge-Brownhills)I, too, am grateful to my right hon. and learned Friend for the announcement of the inquiry, but is there not a major ethical and moral point in the fact that a prosecution can be mounted which might take away the liberty of three business men when Ministers appeared to know that there was basis on which the trial should not proceed and that there would have been a grave miscarriage of justice if those men had been found guilty, convicted and possibly imprisoned?

Secondly, is there not a question of trust between the House and its Ministers in that, when we are told that a policy is such, it is such and there is not deviation from the honour and integrity of Government in their relations with the House?

§The Attorney-GeneralIn so far as there are questions. succinctly analysed by my hon. Friend, which need to be put and answered, it is the very purpose of announcing the judicial inquiry that they may be examined and answered.

§Mr. Geoffrey Robinson (Coventry, North-West)Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that he continues to dodge the issue, which surely cannot be covered by the inquiry, of what he will do to put right the dreadful wrong done to the three Coventry business men who have suffered enormously and quite unjustifiably? What will happen to the case that apparently continues against BSA Tools Ltd. and its chairman and owner, Mr. Keith Bailey? Does that go on? Can the right hon. and learned Gentleman tell us anything about those companies that allegedly settled before the matter went to court?

§The Attorney-GeneralThe answer to the second question is no. I cannot tell the hon. Gentleman about the second case to which he referred, but I can look into the matter and write to him.

On the hon. Gentleman’s first point, as I emphasised to the hon. and learned Member for Fife, North-East (Mr. Campbell) earlier, the process of prosecution is invasive. It is not to be taken lightly, and it is to be examined carefully and independently of Government by the independent prosecuting authority. But if there is a prosecution, which subsequently fails or is withdrawn for any particular reason, representations can be made, but it has never been 747the policy for there to be formal compensation in those circumstances. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman and the House generally know that.

§Mr. Edward Garnier (Harborough)On behalf of my constituent, Mr. Peter Allen, one of the men acquitted yesterday at the Old Bailey, I welcome the announcement of the independent judicial inquiry under the chairmanship of Lord Justice Scott. Will my right hon. and learned Friend accept that it is not unheard of for prosecutions to founder, but will he also accept that this is a unique case in which the understanding of Mr. Alan Clark now appears to have been fundamentally at odds with that of Customs and Excise which initiated the prosecution?

Will my right hon. and learned Friend accept that, as a direct result of the conflict, my constituent has spent the past two years out of work and under the shadow of a sentence of imprisonment, accused of doing no more than he understood he was being encouraged to do? What guidance is given to Ministers to ensure consistency in interpretation of trade sanction regulations, and what steps will be taken to acquaint the prosecuting authorities with that advice?

Finally, what steps will be taken to draw the attention of Customs and Excise and the Department of Trade and Industry to the financial consequences of their actions for my constituent, who has lost heavily as a result of the matter? Is he not entitled to some sort of compensation?

§The Attorney-GeneralMy hon. Friend has raised four points. First—yes, although the word “unique” is always difficult to use, this case involves special circumstances. That is why the inquiry is being set up: so that those circumstances can be looked into carefully, impartially and independently.

Secondly, let me say this to my hon. Friend, and to other hon. Members who have said, “What about an apology?”, and that sort of thing. I hope that I have made it clear already that I recognise what an invasive action prosecution of anyone is. I fully recognise, and I sympathise—[interruption.]

§Madam SpeakerOrder. The House. knows that these are very serious and important matters.[Interruption.] Order. When Back Benchers are putting questions and Ministers are attempting to answer, we ought to have order in the House. It is only within the framework of order that we can proceed at all.

§The Attorney-GeneralAs I was saying, I fully recognise the pressures under which prosecution puts any defendant. I am sure that the House will understand that.

My hon. Friend’s third point concerned guidance. The question of guidance will be very much a matter for the inquiry, and one that the inquiry can look into—both what was given and what perhaps ought to have been given, if they were different.

Finally, my hon. Friend asked about financial compensation. As I said a moment ago, there is no formalised system of financial compensation in these circumstances. It is one of the facts of our constitution that prosecutions must be looked into very carefully and independently, and must be decided on; but then, as a matter of law, that is that.


§Mr. Doug Hoyle (Warrington, North)Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman not now give a full apology to those concerned, and stop hiding behind the framework of the law? Will he also ensure that the whole inquiry is held in public? I understood him to say in answer to the last question that witnesses would now be “summoned”, not invited, and I believe that that is absolutely necessary. I remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman that, when the Select Committee on Trade and Industry looked into the matter, we found that people were disappearing and could not be traced. We want everyone to come forward, including those who profited from the deal—the Savoy mafia, for instance. It has even been said that the former Prime Minister’s family benefited financially.

§The Attorney-GeneralThe hon. Gentleman, like other hon. Members, has raised the question of the form that the inquiry will take. I think that I can set his mind at rest —as much as is humanly possible—by saying that there can be no question of any Minister who has been requested to appear before the inquiry not appearing. There are, however, disadvantages in holding an inquiry under the 1921 Act, as I am sure the hon. Gentleman would agree if he looked into the matter.

As I have said many times, I understand the point about the pressures that prosecutions bring. That is why I have emphasised that they must be looked at carefully, impartially and independently, so that such pressures are not brought without the most careful thought.

§Mr. William Cash (Stafford)First, will my right hon. and learned Friend confirm that theTribunals of Inquiry (Evidence) Act 1921 presents difficulties in relation to whether a prosecution can take place after the evidence has been given? Secondly, Mr. Alan Clark gave evidence on oath. Will my right hon. and learned Friend confirm that, within the context of the judicial inquiry that has been announced, no person—be he a Minister or otherwise—will be immune from having to give evidence on oath, so that the same will apply to him as applied to Mr. Alan Clark? Had he given evidence that was contrary to the truth, he would have been guilty of perjury.

§The Attorney-GeneralI agree that there are difficulties with the 1921 Act, one of which my hon. Friend has identified.

The question of form and procedure in the holding of the inquiry is, to a considerable extent, a matter for the learned judge who will undertake it, and I will not comment further.

§Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)Why should the House of Commons have to wait for a judge for the answer to a very simple, straightforward question: on what date of what year did No. 10 Downing street and other senior Ministers first know about the Matrix Churchill situation? It is a very simple question with a factual answer that Parliament deserves to hear.

§The Attorney-GeneralFor all the hon. Gentleman’s comments, I suspect that that question will require very careful examination. If the House were to be offered a very simple answer, as the hon. Gentleman said, it might well not be satisfied. I suggest that a full and independent judicial inquiry is what the House is entitled to, and is what the hon. Gentleman should look forward to.


§Mr. Geoffrey Dickens (Littleborough and Saddleworth)Does my right hon. and learned Friend accept that this is a very important issue and that we welcome the judicial independent inquiry under Lord Justice Scott? Is it right, however, that this honourable House should divert its attention from the regeneration of our commerce, trade and industry and many other matters? Would it not be wise for hon. Members to concentrate on the running of the country and to leave these important inquiries to a judge and an independent tribunal that has been set up to find the truth?

§The Attorney-GeneralMy hon. Friend is right—that it is because of the importance and complexity of the issue that this type of inquiry has been set up, and that it is because it is someone who can set aside time and apply a judicial mind to these issues that a very senior judge has been invited to hold it.

§Mr. Terry Davis (Birmingham, Hodge Hill)To revert to the experience of the three men who were prosecuted, why will the Attorney-General not simply say, “Sorry”?

§The Attorney-GeneralThe hon. Gentleman invites me to make comments about the prosecution decisions of an independent prosecution authority. That prosecuting authority took its decisions, difficult as they were, very carefully. I have recognised, as a matter of principle, that these decisions are extremely invasive. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman can take it from what I have said that I know that nobody should be prosecuted lightly, and that if anybody is prosecuted unnecessarily, then they have suffered hardship—and that I regret.

§Mr. Roger Knapman (Stroud)I welcome my right hon. and learned Friend’s announcement, and particularly the judicial inquiry. Can he confirm that it is for the judge to decide whether the publication of further documents is in the national interest?

§The Attorney-GeneralYes, I can confirm that. An inquiry of this nature involves the judge looking into documents for which, just as in the court case, public interest immunity, as a matter of law, has to be claimed. The learned judge will no doubt be motivated and governed by the same principles when he makes his detailed inquiry and gives his advice as to what should be published.

§Mr. Tony Benn (Chesterfield)Is the Attorney-General aware that, apart from the legal and administrative matters to which he referred, the real issue is a political issue? Why was it that Ministers supplied arms to a regime that had already used chemical weapons against the Kurds, then sent our troops in to fight an army that had been armed, in part, by British manufacturers, and then, when the war was over, tried to get a big contract to sell more tanks to Kuwait? Is it not a fact that the international arms trade is a greater danger to the peace of humanity than either the AIDS epidemic or the drugs trade? Is it not time that Ministers took responsibility for what they clearly did, which was to put profit above human life in promoting the arms trade?

§The Attorney-GeneralWith respect to the right hon. Gentleman, what is clear is that he is certainly prejudging the issue, which is to be looked at in detail and independently.


§Mr. Rupert Allason (Torbay)Although I welcome my right hon. and learned Friend’s announcement of the appointment of Lord Justice Scott, does he not recognise that there are grave reservations about his announcement that not all of Lord Justice Scott’s report will automatically be published? Does he not also recognise that, in recent years, there has been a tendency, going back to the Security Commission’s report on the Bettaney case, for appendices not to be published, appendices that subsequently were leaked and were discovered only lo contain matters of political embarrassment—nothing that could ever really be described as not in the national interest?

§The Attorney-GeneralI should be surprised in the extreme if Lord Justice Scott did not publish something simply because it was thought to be of political embarrassment. My hon. Friend is probably in as good a position as anybody to know the sensitivity of the matters that the learned Lord Justice will have to consider, whose independent advice will offer guidance on what should be published.

§Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan)Does the Attorney-General accept that there is an urgent need, in this inquiry or elsewhere, for clarification of the doctrine of ministerial responsibility for the policy and conduct of Departments? Does he understand that there is a growing feeling that no one ever accepts responsibility in this Government under any circumstances? Will he give a definition of what constitutes ministerial responsibility?

§The Attorney-GeneralThere could be no better way of examining whether ministerial responsibility should be pinned in any particular area than to have a detailed and independent inquiry. No doubt the hon. Gentleman will wait its outcome.

§Mr. John Marshall (Hendon, South)Does my right hon. and learned Friend accept that the full and independent inquiry will be widely welcomed outside the House? Does he further accept that it is a matter of great concern that the only country in the middle east to which we do not sell arms is the only democracy in the middle east?

§The Attorney-GeneralI recognise and am grateful for my hon. Friend’s welcome for the inquiry, and I note his point.

§Mr. George Foulkes (Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley)Can the Attorney-General assure us that Lord Justice Scott’s terms of reference will be drawn wide enough to encompass allegations of other instances where Ministers may have been flexible in interpreting their roles in the arms embargo, in particular in relation to International Military Services and Astra. Unless that is so, we shall not be able to see whether there is a pattern to this sordid affair.

§The Attorney-GeneralThe hon. Gentleman is asking about the width of the terms of reference, and I think it is already clear from what I have said that they will be widely drawn.

§Sir Teddy Taylor (Southend, East)Although I appreciate the very critical points that have been made, will the Ministers confirm that the terms of reference will be wide enough to include the impossible problem that is 751faced by the British Government and industry when sanctions are imposed but other countries openly, blatantly and massively break them? For example, the German Government had 200 firms selling chemical weapons and extended Scud missiles in Iraq. Will the Attorney-General ensure that the terms of reference are wide enough to acknowledge that Britain has been the mug of the sanctions game time and again? We want sanctions to be properly imposed rather than inquiries into individual instances of this sort.

§The Attorney-GeneralI am sure that the terms of reference will be quite wide enough to enable those important surrounding points made by my hon. Friend to be given proper consideration.

§Mr. Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)Is not the reality of the matter the fact that, for some time, the Government gave the impression to all and sundry that they were not selling arms to Iraq? Now the truth is out. To what extent does the House expect Ministers to continue in their positions? When do Ministers of this squalid Tory Government resign?

We have an example here of at least three Ministers knowing that three men in court were likely to be sent down the line, yet they sat by, hanging on to their seats, ministerial cars and all the rest, hoping to Christ that they would not have to face the music. Ministers should now decide to resign, but the Attorney-General comes along and sticks up a judge—probably one of their Tory friends —instead of having a proper inquiry. The result is that the whitewash and cover-up will continue.

§The Attorney-GeneralThe longer the hon. Gentleman continued, the less I thought he was interested in an independent impartial inquiry into anything. He opened his remarks by asking about the reality of the matter; the purpose of the inquiry is to discover the reality of the matter.

§Mr. Graham Riddick (Colne Valley)Is it not the case that, contrary to the impression that the hon. Member for Bolsover (Mr. Skinner) and the right hon. Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn) sought to convey, the vast majority of armaments sold to Iraq in the 1980s came not from this country but from socialist France and the communist countries of eastern Europe?

§The Attorney-GeneralI have noted my hon. Friend’s point.

§Mr. D. N. Campbell-Savours (Workington)Did Mr. Alan Clark meet officials or Ministers at the Ministry of Defence or the Department of Trade and Industry before the trial?

§The Attorney-GeneralAny actions by Mr. Alan Clark when he was a Minister, or by other Ministers, are the subject of the inquiry.

§Miss Emma Nicholson (Torridge and Devon, West)Further to an earlier question, may I make a correction? There is another democracy in the area, and that is Iran. The recent United Nations report showed that Iran was the wounded party and not the initiater of the war during—


§Madam SpeakerOrder. I remind the hon. Lady that hon. Members should be asking questions on a statement, not making statements themselves.

§Miss NicholsonWill the terms of reference of the inquiry be wide enough to offer the European Community potential alterations of rules? Some of the evidence that I have gleaned during my recent visits to Iran and Iraq has shown that France was indeed exporting chemical weapon components to Iraq during the period covered by the statement and the inquiry.

§The Attorney-GeneralIt will be for Lord Justice Scott to decide how far any questions concerning European rules are relevant to the subject of his inquiry.

§Mr. Andrew Faulds (Warley, East)Is the right hon. and supposedly learned Gentleman fully satisfied that, from the Government’s point of view, the judge who has been put up is, in that classic phrase, “one of us”?

§The Attorney-GeneralI think that, on reflection, even the hon. Gentleman will find that comment unworthy of him.

§Mr. David Winnick (Walsall, North)Is the Attorney-General aware that one of the most disturbing aspects of the case is that, if the judge had decided otherwise regarding the documents in question, the defendants might well have gone to prison—including Paul Henderson who, it should be remembered, was willing to risk his life for his country and is proud of having done so? Yet Ministers signed documents that would have sent him to prison in Britain. Could there be a greater contrast than that between the honour and integrity of the judge in the court case and the record and reputation of Ministers, who were apparently quite willing to send innocent people to prison and who—if they have any honour left—should certainly consider resigning as quickly as possible, and long before the judicial inquiry?

§The Attorney-GeneralI doubt whether the hon. Gentleman wishes to distort the position, but I believe that he deeply misunderstands it, and consequently fundamentally distorts it. Once he realises that, I think that he will wish to withdraw the remarks that he has made.

§Sir Peter Emery (Honiton)Will Lord Justice Scott be able to spend all his time on the inquiry, because, although it needs to be done fully and completely, we should like the report as soon as is humanly possible?

§The Attorney-GeneralI know that Lord Justice Scott is free to begin in the very near future, and I have no reason to think that his conduct of the inquiry is likely to be in any way impeded by any other duties.

§Sir David Steel (Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale)Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that, on 31 January 1991, I called in the House for the setting up of just such a high-level inquiry into arms sales to Iraq so that never again will our forces be faced with an enemy armed partly by ourselves”? The Prime Minister refused an inquiry, and replied: for some considerable time we have not supplied arms to Iraq for precisely that reason.”—[Official Report, 31 January 1991: Vol. 184, c. 1102.] Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman assure me that the terms of reference for this inquiry, which are still to be settled, will be wide enough to establish why that answer was different from the truth?


§The Attorney-GeneralI am not at all sure that the answer was different from the truth at all, but I think that I can give the right hon. Gentleman the assurance that the terms of the inquiry will be wide enough to enable all his concerns to be carefully looked into and evaluated.

§Mr. Tony Banks (Newham, North-West)The Attorney-General said that he expected that Ministers, having been invited to appear at the inquiry, would not refuse to do that. That does not mean to say that they could not necessarily refuse. Will that also mean that civil servants and others will be able to attend—and will be compelled to attend?

§The Attorney-GeneralI do not anticipate that any relevant witness will refuse to attend. The reason that I frame my answers in this form is that, if we go to different 1921 Act rules, one has disadvantages which I do not think that the hon. Gentleman would wish to have.

§Dr. John Reid (Motherwell, North)Following on from that question, why was the Attorney-General surprised earlier when someone mentioned the connivance of Ministers? Is it not at least clear from the trial that, as late as November 1989, a Minister from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office who is now in the Cabinet, a Minister at the Ministry of Defence who has now resigned and another Minister at the Department of Trade and Industry were conniving, colluding together and conspiring to act in entirely the opposite direction to Government policy?

In the light of that, does the Attorney-General accept that the difference between the inquiry that he has announced today and one held under the 1921 Act is that those Ministers or their successors cannot be obliged to attend and answer questions? Is the Attorney-General announcing a judicial inquiry today not in a spirit of openness, but precisely to prevent and pre-empt an inquiry under the 1921 Act which would force them to turn up and answer questions under oath?

§The Attorney-GeneralThe hon. Gentleman completely misunderstands the framework. What I have said to the House—I repeat this clearly to the hon. Gentleman—is that I am quite satisfied that any relevant witness, including Ministers and civil servants, will give their evidence. I cannot imagine how they could refuse without calling upon themselves the utmost condemnation. However, the hon. Gentleman should not prejudge the issue. It is for the inquiry to look into the very points that he has raised and then give its independent view.

§Mr. Gerald Bermingham (St. Helens, South)Does the Attorney-General agree that this is a classic example where, if the rules in the DPP v. Ward with regard to disclosure had been upheld, justice could have been served better? It is not time that the Attorney-General’s guidelines on disclosure extended to all branches, parties and prosecuting authorities in a way that is most effective and efficient, so that innocent people can never again be put at risk before the courts of our land? It is not good enough simply to say that one regrets it: it is a disgrace and a shame on our society. It is a test of our judicial system which luckily had a judge in it prepared to stand by the rules and to see fair play done.

§The Attorney-GeneralI am absolutely surprised that the hon. Gentleman, who understands these matters better 754than some, should phrase his question like that. There is no question of the requirements of the DPP v. Ward having been anything other than fully complied with, but if the hon. Gentleman believes so, he just does riot understand what he is talking about. The point is that there will not be a full inquiry into the matters and the substance of the matters which underlie the hon. Gentleman’s question.

§Mr. Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (Cirencester and Tewkesbury)My right hon. and learned Friend has confirmed that Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise are an indpendent prosecuting body. That may be a unique power of Government, in that it does not fall under the Attorney-General’s Department. Will the terms of reference of Lord Justice Scott’s inquiry be wide enough to discover whether the prosecuting power of Her Majesty’s Customs and Excise should come under the Attorney-General and his Department?

§The Attorney-GeneralI see no reason, if Lord Justice Scott should think that that question was relevant for him to answer, why he should not give guidance about it. However, fundamentally his inquiry is to look into the facts of the matter and the way in which it was handled.

§Mr. John MorrisIs it not astonishing that the Attorney-General has not acknowledged that the prosecution went appallingly wrong and that there is no acknowledgement that the Crown prosecutor, learned counsel, could no longer accept the evidence of a former Minister? Who will decide what is to be published—the Government or the judge? As the Attorney-General has repeatedly said that prosecution is invasive, on what basis was counsel for the Crown able to tell the court that the documents that it was sought to exclude contained nothing of assistance to the defence?

§The Attorney-GeneralThe case was prosecuted by experienced and responsible leading counsel, who examined the issues extremely closely, as I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman will accept.

The prosecution had to be withdrawn, and it was proper that it was withdrawn. The prosecution was withdrawn on the advice of the leading counsel because evidence which was in his possession in a statement was contradicted in the witness box. Thus, part of the important foundation of the prosecution case had altered. The right hon. and learned Gentleman will fully recognise that, in those circumstances, it would not have been proper to proceed.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman asked who on the inquiry would decide the issues to which he referred. I am sure that the right hon. and learned Gentleman realises that the point of having an independent inquiry by a learned Lord Justice is so that the Lord Justice will decide the issues [An hon. Member: “But will he be allowed to publish what he likes?”] I have said it about five times.

Leading counsel for the Crown presented, as it was the Minister’s legal duty to do, the public interest immunity statements, and expressly invited the learned judge who was trying the case to read the documents and exercise his independent judgment according to law as to where the balance of public interest lay. That is what he did.

§Mr. KaufmanOn a point of order, Madam Speaker. I seek your assistance. You said that the matter was extremely important. When the Attorney-General was 755asked whether Ministers could be summoned to the inquiry, he said yes. He then went on to say that Ministers would be invited to attend and he was sure that they would not decline.

It would be wrong for the House to move on to further business before the Attorney-General clarifies whether Ministers will be summoned and have no right not to attend or whether they will be invited to attend with the right not to attend.

§Madam SpeakerThat is not a point of order for the Chair. [Interruption.] Order. I am in charge here.

§The Attorney-GeneralFurther to that point of order, Madam Speaker. I shall clarify the position. The right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Kaufman) would undoubtedly wish to consider the advantages and disadvantages of the 1921 Act to which I have referred many times.

My response to his point of order and the factual matter that he put into the ether is that Ministers can be ordered to attend by the Prime Minister. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, any Ministers so ordered—the Prime Minister has just told me that Ministers will be so ordered—who do not attend, which I find inconceivable, would be unlikely to remain Ministers for long if they did not obey such as order.

Several Hon. Membersrose—

§Mrs. Teresa Gorman (Billericay)On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Can you confirm that when an hon. Member intends to raise a matter in the House about another Member it is the courtesy of the House that he should inform the Member involved in advance? The hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) named me yesterday on a matter of privilege. Do you also agree that, as the hon. Member derives his evidence from a Murdoch newspaper which he normally would despise, and as those sentiments are about as sincere as Colonel Sander’s sentiments for chickens, the matter is bogus? If I need an hon. Member to defend me, I will not seek help from the whippersnapper opposite.

§Madam SpeakerI know full well that the hon. Lady can defend herself on every matter, and I can tell her and the House that I do not make my rulings on what the papers say.

§Mr. BennOn a point of order, Madam Speaker. I would like your advice on how the House is left following today’s statement. Is it the case that no further questions can be put or answered on the many issues that have come up in the questioning, on the grounds that it is sub judice? I hope that you will not answer today, because it is an important question.

If a Minister can set up a judicial inquiry and no questions can be put on the matter for the next 18 months, on the grounds of the sub judice rule, parliamentary accountability will disappear overnight. Will you reflect carefully on that matter and give us guidance, because I regard it as potentially a great threat to the accountability of Ministers to the House of Commons?

§Madam SpeakerIt is my understanding that the sub judice rule does not apply to inquiries.


Several hon. Membersrose—

§Madam SpeakerOrder. I hope that hon. Members’ points of order are not points of frustration, because I see numbers of hon. Members rising whom I was not able to call. I am not prepared to prolong this.

§Mr. Jimmy Boyce (Rotherham)On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Can you give me some guidance? The Attorney-General has left Opposition Members, at least, completely baffled as to the next stage in the procedure. Given that his terms of reference for the judicial inquiry were that it will be full, impartial and independent, can you use your good offices to bring the Attorney-General back here when he has drawn then up?

§Madam SpeakerRegrettably, the hon. Member credits me with more authority than I have.

§Mr. DalyellOn a point of order, Madam Speaker.

§Madam SpeakerThe hon. Gentleman was called during the statement. Is it a point of order for me?

§Mr. DalyellFurther to the point of order raised by my right hon. Friend the Member for Chesterfield (Mr. Benn), Madam Speaker. This morning, the Table Office accepted two identical questions from me—one for the Prime Minister and one for the Secretary of State for Defence —asking on what date they were first alerted to the Matrix Churchill situation. In the light of the answer to my right hon. Friend, are we saying that there is no need for Ministers to answer such questions, even if they remain on the Order Paper, on the grounds that the matter is sub judice, because that raises deep questions—

§Madam SpeakerOrder. It is quite the opposite. As I have already said, the inquiry is not sub judice. The hon. Gentleman has told me and the House that his questions were accepted.

§Mr. Menzies Campbell (Fife, North-East)On a point of order, Madam Speaker. Can you assist me further? lf, as we have been told, the sanction against Ministers who refuse to give evidence is that they would lose their jobs, what sanction would the House have over former Ministers who decline to give evidence? Is there any way in which you can assist me on that matter?

§Madam SpeakerThe inquiry is not being conducted by the House, and therefore I should have thought that the House had no authority over former Ministers.

§Mr. BerminghamFurther to that point of order, Madam Speaker. Perhaps you could assist me. I listened to the statement and to all the questions and answers, but I remain puzzled about our policy with regard to the shipment of machinery, which is capable of making munitions, to various middle eastern countries. Perhaps the relevant Minister—be it from the Department of Trade and Industry, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Prime Minister or someone else—could get up and tell me their departmental policies.

§Madam SpeakerHon. Members must not ask the Chair to attempt to interpret Government policy in that way.

§Mr. Paul Flynn (Newport, West)On a point of order, Madam Speaker. I appeal to you, in your capacity as the defender of Back Benchers’ rights, to recognise that a 757matter arises from this debate which calls for a statement to the House. I have examined dozens of questions and answers that I have received since 1987, and it is clear that the answers given to me by Mr. Alan Clark and other Ministers were untrue. Can the wrong that has been done to the House be undone by a statement from the Leader of the House and from the Government—a statement in which they will go through all the untruthful answers of the past four years and give us truthful replies?

§Madam SpeakerI have no authority to instruct any Minister to come to the Dispatch Box, but the comments made by the hon. Member have obviously been heard by those on the Treasury Bench this afternoon.

§Mr. LitherlandIt was stated that the Prime Minister could instruct any Minister to attend the inquiry. I ask your guidance, Madam Speaker. Who can instruct the Prime Minister to attend the inquiry and make available his knowledge of this situation?

§Madam SpeakerThe points of order that hon. Members are now raising are by no means a matter for the Speaker.

§Mr. Alan W. Williams (Carmarthen)In relation to the point raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn), can you clarify whether it is not a fact that nothing that has been said this afternoon would preclude him from referring the matter to the Committee of Privileges?

§Madam SpeakerIf any hon. Member wishes to make any reference to the matters of privilege, he or she should, in the normal way, write to me.

§Mr. Chris Mullin (Sunderland, South)It will be within your recollection, Madam Speaker, that, three years ago, the then Attorney-General came to the House and announced a judicial inquiry into the Guildford and Woolwich pub bombings, and that, once it became clear that the judge in charge of that inquiry, Sir John May, was 758not willing to participate in a whitewash, the inquiry was nobbled. No Attorney-General has since come to the House to explain the fate of that inquiry. In order that we may know how seriously to take the inquiry just announced, could we first of all hear a statement from the Attorney-General about what happened to the last one?

§Madam SpeakerI have already told the House that I have not been informed that any Minister is seeking to make a further statement today.

§Mr. Ken Livingstone (Brent, East)Can you help me by making it clear whether officers of MI5 and MI6 will be under a compulsion to tell the inquiry whether they advised the former Prime Minister of her son’s arms dealings in this area and his involvement in the shipment of munitions to Iraq?

§Madam SpeakerCertainly not; that is not a matter for the Speaker.

§Mr. Llew Smith (Blaenau, Gwent)Would the Attorney-General care to explain the links between the Government and the firm, Allivane, which supplied equipment to Iraq and Iran at the time of the Iraq-Iran war?

§Madam SpeakerThese are not points of order. Hon. Members are attempting to prolong the debate.


HC Deb 17 May 1984 vol 60 cc501-6501

§Q1 Mr. Lathamasked the Prime Minister whether she will list her official engagements for 17 May.

§The Prime Minister (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher)This morning I presided at a meeting of the Cabinet and had meetings with ministerial colleagues and others. In addition to my duties in the House I shall be having further meetings later today, including one with King Hussein of Jordan.

§Mr. LathamIs my right hon. Friend aware that the brutal Gulf war, with hundreds of thousands of casualties and the vile abomination of chemical warfare poses a major threat to world peace? Should not the major powers insist upon an immediate arms embargo and call the Security Council into force to get one?

§The Prime MinisterThe Government are seriously concerned about the Iran-Iraq war, the loss of life and the implications for Western security, especially in view of the recent attacks on neutral oil tankers. We are willing to support any initiatives in the United Nations that are likely to achieve peace. Britain does not supply lethal weapons to either side in the Iran-Iraq war, and we have refused to export eight different chemicals which might be fabricated into weapons of chemical warfare.


HC Deb 18 March 2003 vol 401 cc760-858760

§[Relevant document: The Fourth Report from the International Development Committee, on Preparing for the humanitarian consequences of possible military action against Iraq (HC444-I).]

§Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst)I have to inform the House that Mr. Speaker has selected the amendment in the name of the right hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Smith).

12.35 pm

§The Prime Minister (Mr. Tony Blair)I beg to move, That this House notes its decisions of 25th November 2002 and 26th February 2003 to endorse UN Security Council Resolution 1441; recognises that Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and long range missiles, and its continuing non-compliance with Security Council Resolutions, pose a threat to international peace and security; notes that in the 130 days since Resolution 1441 was adopted Iraq has not co-operated actively, unconditionally and immediately with the weapons inspectors, and has rejected the final opportunity to comply and is in further material breach of its obligations under successive mandatory UN Security Council Resolutions; regrets that despite sustained diplomatic effort by Her Majesty’s Government it has not proved possible to secure a second Resolution in the UN because one Permanent Member of the Security Council made plain in public its intention to use its veto whatever the circumstances; notes the opinion of the Attorney General that, Iraq having failed to comply and Iraq being at the time of Resolution 1441 and continuing to be in material breach, the authority to use force under Resolution 678 has revived and so continues today; believes that the United Kingdom must uphold the authority of the United Nations as set out in Resolution 1441 and many Resolutions preceding it, and therefore supports the decision of Her Majesty’s Government that the United Kingdom should use all means necessary to ensure the disarmament of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction; offers wholehearted support to the men and women of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces now on duty in the Middle East; in the event of military operations requires that, on an urgent basis, the United Kingdom should seek a new Security Council Resolution that would affirm Iraq’s territorial integrity, ensure rapid delivery of humanitarian relief, allow for the earliest possible lifting of UN sanctions, an international reconstruction programme, and the use of all oil revenues for the benefit of the Iraqi people and endorse an appropriate post-conflict administration for Iraq, leading to a representative government which upholds human rights and the rule of law for all Iraqis; and also welcomes the imminent publication of the Quartet’s roadmap as a significant step to bringing a just and lasting peace settlement between Israelis and Palestinians and for the wider Middle East region, and endorses the role of Her Majesty’s Government in actively working for peace between Israel and Palestine. At the outset, I say that it is right that the House debate this issue and pass judgment. That is the democracy that is our right, but that others struggle for in vain. Again, I say that I do not disrespect the views in opposition to mine. This is a tough choice indeed, but it is also a stark one: to stand British troops down now and turn back, or to hold firm to the course that we have set. I believe passionately that we must hold firm to that course. The question most often posed is not “Why does it matter?” but “Why does it matter so much?” Here we are, the Government, with their most serious test, their majority at risk, the first Cabinet resignation over an issue of policy, the main parties internally divided, 761people who agree on everything else—[Hon. Members: “The main parties?”] Ah, yes, of course. The Liberal Democrats—unified, as ever, in opportunism and error. [Interruption.]

The country and the Parliament reflect each other. This is a debate that, as time has gone on, has become less bitter but no less grave. So why does it matter so much? Because the outcome of this issue will now determine more than the fate of the Iraqi regime and more than the future of the Iraqi people who have been brutalised by Saddam for so long, important though those issues are. It will determine the way in which Britain and the world confront the central security threat of the 21st century, the development of the United Nations, the relationship between Europe and the United States, the relations within the European Union and the way in which the United States engages with the rest of the world. So it could hardly be more important. It will determine the pattern of international politics for the next generation.

First, let us recap the history of Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. In April 1991, after the Gulf war, Iraq was given 15 days to provide a full and final declaration of all its weapons of mass destruction. Saddam had used the weapons against Iran and against his own people, causing thousands of deaths. He had had plans to use them against allied forces. It became clear, after the Gulf war, that Iraq’s WMD ambition; were far more extensive than had hitherto been thought. So the issue was identified by the United Nations at that time as one for urgent remedy. UNSCOM, the weapons inspection team, was set up. It was expected to complete its task, following the declaration, at the end of April 1991. The declaration, when it came, was false: a blanket denial of the programme, other than in a very tentative form. And so the 12-year game began.

The inspectors probed. Finally, in March 1992, Iraq admitted that it had previously undeclared weapons of mass destruction, but it said that it had destroyed them. It gave another full and final declaration. Again the inspectors probed. In October 1994. Iraq stopped co-operating with the weapons inspectors altogether. Military action was threatened. Inspections resumed. In March 1996, in an effort to rid Iraq of the inspectors, a further full and final declaration of WMD was made. By July 1996, however, Iraq was forced to admit that declaration, too, was false.

In August, it provided yet another full and final declaration. Then, a week later, Saddam’s son-in-law, Hussein Kamal, defected to Jordan. He disclosed a far more extensive biological weapons programme and, for the first time, said that Iraq had, weaponised the programme—something that Saddam had always strenuously denied. All this had been happening while the inspectors were in Iraq.

Kamal also revealed Iraq’s crash programme to produce a nuclear weapon in the 1990s. Iraq was then forced to release documents that showed just how extensive those programmes were. In November 1996, Jordan intercepted prohibited components for missiles 762that could be used for weapons of mass destruction. Then a further “full and final declaration” was made. That, too, turned out to be false.

In June 1997, inspectors were barred from specific sites. In September 1997, lo and behold, yet another “full and final declaration” was made—also false. Meanwhile, the inspectors discovered VX nerve agent production equipment, the existence of which had always been denied by the Iraqis.

In October 1997, the United States and the United Kingdom threatened military action if Iraq refused to comply with the inspectors. Finally, under threat of action in February 1998, Kofi Annan went to Baghdad and negotiated a memorandum with Saddam to allow inspections to continue. They did continue, for a few months. In August, co-operation was suspended.

In December, the inspectors left. Their final report is a withering indictment of Saddam’s lies, deception and obstruction, with large quantities of weapons of mass destruction unaccounted for. Then, in December 1998, the US and the UK undertook Desert Fox, a targeted bombing campaign to degrade as much of the Iraqi WMD facility as we could.

In 1999, a new inspection team, UNMOVIC, was set up. Saddam refused to allow those inspectors even to enter Iraq. So there they stayed, in limbo, until, after resolution 1441 last November, they were allowed to return.

That is the history—and what is the claim of Saddam today? Why, exactly the same as before: that he has no weapons of mass destruction. Indeed, we are asked to believe that after seven years of obstruction and non-compliance, finally resulting in the inspectors’ leaving in 1998—seven years in which he hid his programme and built it up, even when the inspectors were there in Iraq—when they had left, he voluntarily decided to do what he had consistently refused to do under coercion.

When the inspectors left in 1998, they left unaccounted for 10,000 litres of anthrax; a far-reaching VX nerve agent programme; up to 6,500 chemical munitions; at least 80 tonnes of mustard gas, and possibly more than 10 times that amount; unquantifiable amounts of sarin, botulinum toxin and a host of other biological poisons; and an entire Scud missile programme. We are asked now seriously to accept that in the last few years—contrary to all history, contrary to all intelligence—Saddam decided unilaterally to destroy those weapons. I say that such a claim is palpably absurd.

Resolution 1441 is very clear. It lays down a final opportunity for Saddam to disarm. It rehearses the fact that he has for years been in material breach of 17 UN resolutions. It says that this time compliance must be full, unconditional and immediate, the first step being a full and final declaration of all weapons of mass destruction to be given on 8 December last year.

I will not go through all the events since then, as the House is familiar with them, but this much is accepted by all members of the UN Security Council: the 8 December declaration is false. That in itself, incidentally, is a material breach. Iraq has taken some steps in co-operation, but no one disputes that it is not 763fully co-operating. Iraq continues to deny that it has any weapons of mass destruction, although no serious intelligence service anywhere in the world believes it.

On 7 March, the inspectors published a remarkable document. It is 173 pages long, and details all the unanswered questions about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. It lists 29 different areas in which the inspectors have been unable to obtain information. On VX, for example, it says:Documentation available to UNMOVIC suggests that Iraq at least had had far reaching plans to weaponise VX. On mustard gas, it says: Mustard constituted an important part … of Iraq’s CW arsenal … 550 mustard filled shells and up to 450 mustard filled aerial bombs unaccounted for … additional uncertainty with respect to over 6,500 aerial bombs, corresponding to approximately 1,000 tonnes of agent, predominantly mustard. On biological weapons, the inspectors’ report states: Based on unaccounted for growth media, Iraq’s potential production of anthrax could have been in the range of about 15,000 to 25,000 litres … Based on all the available evidence, the strong presumption is that about 10,000 litres of anthrax was not destroyed and may still exist. On that basis, I simply say to the House that, had we meant what we said in resolution 1441, the Security Council should have convened and condemned Iraq as in material breach. What is perfectly clear is that Saddam is playing the same old games in the same old way. Yes, there are minor concessions, but there has been no fundamental change of heart or mind.

However, after 7 March, the inspectors said that there was at least some co-operation, and the world rightly hesitated over war. Let me now describe to the House what then took place.

We therefore approached a second resolution in this way. As I said, we could have asked for the second resolution then and there, because it was justified. Instead, we laid down an ultimatum calling upon Saddam to come into line with resolution 1441, or be in material breach. That is not an unreasonable proposition, given the history, but still countries hesitated. They asked, “How do we judge what is full co-operation?”

So we then worked on a further compromise. We consulted the inspectors and drew up five tests, based on the document that they published on 7 March. Those tests included allowing interviews with 30 scientists to be held outside Iraq, and releasing details of the production of the anthrax, or at least of the documentation showing what had happened to it. The inspectors added another test: that Saddam should publicly call on Iraqis to co-operate with them.

So we constructed this framework: that Saddam should be given a specified time to fulfil all six tests to show full co-operation; and that, if he did so, the inspectors could then set out a forward work programme that would extend over a period of time to make sure that disarmament happened. However, if Saddam failed to meet those tests to judge compliance, action would follow.

So there were clear benchmarks, plus a clear ultimatum. Again, I defy anyone to describe that as an unreasonable proposition.

764Last Monday, we were getting very close with it. We very nearly had the majority agreement. If I might, I should particularly like to thank the President of Chile for the constructive way in which he approached this issue.

Yes, there were debates about the length of the ultimatum, but the basic construct was gathering support. Then, on Monday night, France said that it would veto a second resolution, whatever the circumstances. Then France denounced the six tests. Later that day, Iraq rejected them. Still, we continued to negotiate, even at that point.

Last Friday, France said that it could not accept any resolution with an ultimatum in it. On Monday, we made final efforts to secure agreement. However, the fact is that France remains utterly opposed to anything that lays down an ultimatum authorising action in the event of non-compliance by Saddam.

§Hugh Bayley (City of York)Will my right hon. Friend give way?

§Hugh BayleyI am grateful to my right hon. Friend. I took the view that Britain should not engage in military action without a second resolution, but the decision of some members of the Security Council to back away from the commitment that they gave in November to enforce resolution 1441 has made me change my mind. Does my right hon. Friend agree that France’s decision to use the veto against any further Security Council resolution has, in effect, disarmed the UN instead of disarming Iraq?

§The Prime MinisterOf course I agree with my hon. Friend. The House should just consider the position that we were asked to adopt. Those on the Security Council opposed to us say that they want Saddam to disarm, but they will not countenance any new resolution that authorises force in the event of non-compliance. That is their position—no to any ultimatum and no to any resolution that stipulates that failure to comply will lead to military action. So we must demand that Saddam disarms, but relinquish any concept of a threat if he does not.

From December 1998 to December 2002, no UN inspector was allowed to inspect anything in Iraq. For four years, no inspection took place. What changed Saddam’s mind was the threat of force. From December to January, and then from January through to February, some concessions were made. What changed his mind? It was the threat of force. What makes him now issue invitations to the inspectors, discover documents that he said he never had, produce evidence of weapons supposed to be non-existent, and destroy missiles he said he would keep? It is the imminence of force. The only persuasive power to which he responds is 250,000 allied troops on his doorstep. However, when that fact is so obvious, we are told that any resolution that authorises force in the event of non-compliance will be vetoed—not just opposed, but vetoed and blocked.

§Mr. Jon Owen Jones (Cardiff, Central)If it is the case, as the Government continually say, that the 765French position was so uniquely influential, why did not the Government and the United States pursue the second resolution, which—if the Government have given us a true reflection of the Security Council’s position—would show that the French were isolated?

§The Prime MinisterFor the very reason that I have just given. If a member of the permanent five indicates to members of the Security Council who are not permanent members that whatever the circumstances it will veto, that is the way to block any progress on the Security Council.[Interruption.] With the greatest respect to whoever shouted out that the presence of the troops is working, I agree, but it is British and American troops who are there, not French troops.

The tragedy is that had such a resolution ensued and had the UN come together and united—and if other troops had gone there, not just British and American troops—Saddam Hussein might have complied. But the moment we proposed the benchmarks and canvassed support for an ultimatum, there was an immediate recourse to the language of the veto. The choice was not action now or postponement of action; the choice was action or no action at all.

§Llew Smith (Blaenau Gwent)What does the Prime Minister mean by an “unreasonable veto”? Were the 30 occasions on which the UK has used the veto and the 75 occasions on which the US has used the veto reasonable or unreasonable?

§The Prime MinisterWe can argue about each one of those vetoes in the past and whether they were reasonable, but I define an unreasonable veto as follows. In resolution 1441, we said that it was Saddam’s final opportunity and that he had to comply. That was agreed by all members of the Security Council. What is surely unreasonable is for a country to come forward now, at the very point when we might reach agreement and when we are—not unreasonably—saying that he must comply with the UN, after all these months without full compliance, on the basis of the six tests or action will follow. For that country to say that it will veto such a resolution in all circumstances is what I would call unreasonable.

The tragedy is that the world has to learn the lesson all over again that weakness in the face of a threat from a tyrant is the surest way not to peace, but—unfortunately—to conflict. Looking back over those 12 years, the truth is that we have been victims of our own desire to placate the implacable, to persuade towards reason the utterly unreasonable, and to hope that there was some genuine intent to do good in a regime whose mind is in fact evil.

Now the very length of time counts against us. People say, “You’ve waited 12 years, so why not wait a little longer?” Of course we have done so, because resolution 1441 gave a final opportunity. As I have just pointed out, the first test was on 8 December. But still we waited. We waited for the inspectors’ reports. We waited as each concession was tossed to us to whet our appetite for 766hope and further waiting. But still no one, not even today at the Security Council, says that Saddam is co-operating fully, unconditionally or immediately.

§Simon Hughes (Southwark, North and Bermondsey)The Prime Minister will carry the House with him in describing the evil of Saddam Hussein and the effectiveness of the threat of force. Can he therefore explain why the diplomacy that has not so far succeeded—not through lack of his effort—should not be continued for a little longer, so that agreement could be reached between all permanent members of the Security Council? Then if force had to be used, it could be backed with the authority of the UN, instead of undermining the UN.

§The Prime MinisterWe could have had more time if the compromise proposal that we put forward had been accepted. I take it from what the hon. Gentleman has just said that he would accept that the compromise proposal we put forward was indeed reasonable. We set out the tests. If Saddam meets those tests, we extend the work programme of the inspectors. If he does not meet those tests, we take action. I think that the hon. Gentleman would also agree that unless the threat of action was made, it was unlikely that Saddam would meet the tests.

§Simon Hughesindicated assent

§The Prime MinisterThe hon. Gentleman nods his head, but the problem with the diplomacy was that it came to an end after the position of France was made public—and repeated in a private conversation—and it said that it would block, by veto, any resolution that contained an ultimatum. We could carry on discussing it for a long time, but the French were not prepared to change their position. I am not prepared to carry on waiting and delaying, with our troops in place in difficult circumstances, when that country has made it clear that it has a fixed position and will not change. I would have hoped that, rather than condemn us for not waiting even longer, the hon. Gentleman would condemn those who laid down the veto.

§David Winnick (Walsall, North)Does my right hon. Friend agree that a criticism can be made of all the countries that make up the Security Council because it has taken 12 years to reach this point? Why was action not taken earlier? The delay and frustration has only encouraged the Iraqi dictator to act as he has, and there is no justification for further delay.

§The Prime MinisterI truly believe that our fault has not been impatience. The truth is that our patience should have been exhausted weeks and months and even years ago.

§Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan)The Prime Minister says that the French have changed position, but surely the French, Russians and Chinese always made it clear that they would oppose a second resolution that led automatically to war. [Interruption.] Well they publicised that view at the time of resolution 1441. Is it not the Prime Minister who has changed his position? A month ago, he said that the only circumstances in which 767he would go to war without a second resolution was if the inspectors concluded that there had been no more progress, which they have not; if there were a majority on the Security Council, which there is not; and if there were an unreasonable veto from one country, but there are three permanent members opposed to the Prime Minister’s policy. When did he change his position, and why?

§The Prime MinisterFirst, the hon. Gentleman is absolutely wrong about the position on resolution 1441. It is correct that resolution 1441 did not say that there would be another resolution authorising the use of force, but the implication of resolution 1441—it was stated in terms—was that if Iraq continued in material breach, defined as not co-operating fully, immediately and unconditionally, serious consequences should follow. All we are asking for in the second resolution is the clear ultimatum that if Saddam continues to fail to co-operate, force should be used. The French position is that France will vote no, whatever the circumstances. Those are not my words, but those of the French President. I find it sad that at this point in time he cannot support us in the position we have set out, which is the only sure way to disarm Saddam. And what, indeed, would any tyrannical regime possessing weapons of mass destruction think when viewing the history of the world’s diplomatic dance with Saddam over these 12 years? That our capacity to pass firm resolutions has only been matched by our feebleness in implementing them. That is why this indulgence has to stop—because it is dangerous: dangerous if such regimes disbelieve us; dangerous if they think they can use our weakness, our hesitation, and even the natural urges of our democracy towards peace against us; and dangerous because one day they will mistake our innate revulsion against war for permanent incapacity, when, in fact, if pushed to the limit, we will act. But when we act, after years of pretence, the action will have to be harder, bigger, more total in its impact. It is true that Iraq is not the only country with weapons of mass destruction, but I say this to the House: back away from this confrontation now, and future conflicts will be infinitely worse and more devastating in their effects.

Of course, in a sense, any fair observer does not really dispute that Iraq is in breach of resolution 1441 or that it implies action in such circumstances. The real problem is that, underneath, people dispute that Iraq is a threat, dispute the link between terrorism and weapons of mass destruction, and dispute, in other words, the whole basis of our assertion that the two together constitute a fundamental assault on our way of life.

There are glib and sometimes foolish comparisons with the 1930s. I am not suggesting for a moment that anyone here is an appeaser or does not share our revulsion at the regime of Saddam. However, there is one relevant point of analogy. It is that, with history, we know what happened. We can look back and say, “There’s the time; that was the moment; that’s when we should have acted.” However, the point is that it was not clear at the time—not at that moment. In fact, at that time, many people thought such a fear fanciful or, worse, that it was put forward in bad faith by warmongers. Let me read one thing from an editorial from a paper that I am pleased to say takes a different 768position today. It was written in late 1938 after Munich. One would have thought from the history books that people thought the world was tumultuous in its desire to act. This is what the editorial said: Be glad in your hearts. Give thanks to your God. People of Britain, your children are safe. Your husbands and your sons will not march to war. Peace is a victory for all mankind … And now let us go back to our own affairs. We have had enough of those menaces, conjured up … to confuse us.

Now, of course, should Hitler again appear in the same form, we would know what to do. But the point is that history does not declare the future to us plainly. Each time is different and the present must be judged without the benefit of hindsight. So let me explain to the House why I believe that the threat that we face today is so serious and why we must tackle it. The threat today is not that of the 1930s. It is not big powers going to war with each other. The ravages that fundamentalist ideology inflicted on the 20th century are memories. The cold war is over. Europe is at peace, if not always diplomatically. But the world is ever more interdependent. Stock markets and economies rise and fall together, confidence is the key to prosperity, and insecurity spreads like contagion. The key today is stability and order. The threat is chaos and disorder—and there are two begetters of chaos: tyrannical regimes with weapons of mass destruction and extreme terrorist groups who profess a perverted and false view of Islam.

Let me tell the House what I know. I know that there are some countries, or groups within countries, that are proliferating and trading in weapons of mass destruction—especially nuclear weapons technology. I know that there are companies, individuals, and some former scientists on nuclear weapons programmes, who are selling their equipment or expertise. I know that there are several countries—mostly dictatorships with highly repressive regimes—that are desperately trying to acquire chemical weapons, biological weapons or, in particular, nuclear weapons capability. Some of those countries are now a short time away from having a serviceable nuclear weapon. This activity is not diminishing. It is increasing.

We all know that there are terrorist groups now operating in most major countries. Just in the past two years, around 20 different nations have suffered serious terrorist outrages. Thousands of people—quite apart from 11 September—have died in them. The purpose of that terrorism is not just in the violent act; it is in producing terror. It sets out to inflame, to divide, and to produce consequences of a calamitous nature. Round the world, it now poisons the chances of political progress—in the middle east, in Kashmir, in Chechnya and in Africa. The removal of the Taliban—yes—dealt it a blow. But it has not gone away.

Those two threats have, of course, different motives and different origins, but they share one basic common view: they detest the freedom, democracy and tolerance that are the hallmarks of our way of life. At the moment, I accept fully that the association between the two is loose—but it is hardening. The possibility of the two coming together—of terrorist groups in possession of weapons of mass destruction or even of a so-called dirty radiological bomb—-is now, in my judgment, a real and present danger to Britain and its national security.

§Mr. Robert Key (Salisbury)Does the Prime Minister acknowledge that thousands of scientists and civil 769servants in this country—hundreds of them my constituents at Porton Down—have been warning of those threats for some years and are hugely relieved that he and his Government are taking this seriously? They will support him, as will I.

§The Prime MinisterI thank the hon. Gentleman for that.

§Mr. Tam Dalyell (Linlithgow)What could be more calculated to act as a recruiting sergeant for a young generation throughout the Islamic and Arab world than putting 600 cruise missiles—or whatever it is—on to Baghdad and Iraq?

§The Prime MinisterLet me come to that very point.

§Sir Teddy Taylor (Rochford and Southend, East)Will the Prime Minister give way?

§The Prime MinisterLet me deal with this point first. Let us recall: what was shocking about 11 September was not just the slaughter of innocent people but the knowledge that, had the terrorists been able, there would have been not 3,000 innocent dead, but 30,000 or 300,000—and the more the suffering, the greater their rejoicing. I say to my hon. Friend that America did not attack the al-Qaeda terrorist group; the al-Qaeda terrorist group attacked America. They did not need to be recruited; they were there already. Unless we take action against them, they will grow. That is why we should act.

§Lynne Jones (Birmingham, Selly Oak)Will the Prime Minister give way?

§Sir Teddy TaylorWill the Prime Minister give way?

§The Prime MinisterJust give me a moment and then I will give way.

Let me explain the dangers. Three kilograms of VX from a rocket launcher would contaminate 0.25 sq km of a city. Millions of lethal doses are contained in one litre of anthrax, and 10,000 litres are unaccounted for. What happened on 11 September has changed the psychology of America—that is clear—but it should have changed the psychology of the world.

Of course, Iraq is not the only part of this threat. I have never said that it was. But it is the test of whether we treat the threat seriously. Faced with it, the world should unite. The UN should be the focus both of diplomacy and of action. That is what 1441 said. That was the deal. And I simply say to the House that to break it now, and to will the ends but not the means, would do more damage in the long term to the UN than any other single course that we could pursue. To fall back into the lassitude of the past 12 years; to talk, to discuss, to debate but never to act; to declare our will but not to enforce it; and to continue with strong language but with weak intentions—that is the worst course imaginable. If we pursue that course, when the threat770returns, from Iraq or elsewhere, who will then believe us? What price our credibility with the next tyrant? It was interesting today that some of the strongest statements of support for allied forces came from near to North Korea—from Japan and South Korea.

§Sir Teddy TaylorThe Prime Minister is making a powerful and compelling speech. Will he tell the House whether there has been any identification of the countries that have supplied these terrible biological materials—such as anthrax and toxins—to Iraq? Should those countries not be identified—named by the Prime Minister and condemned?

§The Prime MinisterMuch of the production is in Iraq itself.

§Lynne JonesA moment ago my right hon. Friend said that the association between Iraq and terrorists is loose, yet last night President Bush told the American people that Iraq has aided, trained and harboured terrorists, including operatives of al-Qaeda. Was President Bush accurate in what he told the American people?

§The Prime MinisterFirst, let me apologise to the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend, East (Sir Teddy Taylor). He was making a point in my favour and I failed to spot it.

Secondly, to my hon. Friend, yes, I do support what the President said. Do not be in any doubt at all—Iraq has been supporting terrorist groups. For example, Iraq is offering money to the families of suicide bombers whose purpose is to wreck any chance of progress in the middle east. Although I said that the associations were loose, they are hardening. I do believe that, and I believe that the two threats coming together are the dangers that we face in our world.

I also say this: there will be in any event no sound future for the United Nations—no guarantee against the repetition of these events—unless we recognise the urgent need for a political agenda that we can unite upon. What we have witnessed is indeed the consequence of Europe and the United States dividing from each other. Not all of Europe—Spain, Italy, Holland, Denmark and Portugal have strongly supported us—and not a majority of Europe if we include, as we should, Europe’s new members who will accede next year, all 10 of whom have been in strong support of the position of this Government. But the paralysis of the UN has been born out of the division that there is.

I want to deal with that in this way. At the heart of that division is the concept of a world in which there are rival poles of power, with the US and its allies in one corner and France, Germany, Russia and their allies in the other. I do not believe that all those nations intend such an outcome, but that is what now faces us. I believe such a vision to be misguided and profoundly dangerous for our world. I know why it arises. There is resentment of US predominance. There is fear of US unilateralism. People ask, “Do the US listen to us and our preoccupations?” And there is perhaps a lack of full understanding of US preoccupations after 11 September. I know all this. But the way to deal with it is 771not rivalry, but partnership. Partners are not servants, but neither are they rivals. What Europe should have said last September to the United States is this: with one voice it should have said, “We understand your strategic anxiety over terrorism and weapons of mass destruction and we will help you meet it. We will mean what we say in any UN resolution we pass and will back it with action if Saddam fails to disarm voluntarily. However, in return”—Europe should have said—”we ask two things of you: that the US should indeed choose the UN path and you should recognise the fundamental overriding importance of restarting the middle east peace process, which we will hold you to.”

That would have been the right and responsible way for Europe and America to treat each other as partners, and it is a tragedy that it has not happened. I do not believe that there is any other issue with the same power to reunite the world community than progress on the issues of Israel and Palestine. Of course, there is cynicism about recent announcements, but the United States is now committed—and, I believe genuinely—to the road map for peace designed in consultation with the UN. It will now be presented to the parties as Abu Mazen is confirmed in office, hopefully today, as Palestinian Prime Minister. All of us are now signed up to this vision: a state of Israel, recognised and accepted by all the world, and a viable Palestinian state. That is what this country should strive for, and we will.

And that should be part of a larger global agenda: on poverty and sustainable development; on democracy and human rights; and on the good governance of nations.

§Mike Gapes (Ilford, South)Will the Prime Minister give way?

§The Prime MinisterIn a moment.

That is why what happens after any conflict in Iraq is of such critical significance. Here again there is a chance to unify around the United Nations. There should be a new United Nations resolution following any conflict providing not only for humanitarian help, but for the administration and governance of Iraq. That must be done under proper UN authorisation.

§Mike GapesI am grateful to my right hon. Friend for giving way, and I endorse very strongly what he said about the need for the road map of progress in the middle east. However, the problem is that there is a perception that we are engaged in a bilateral action with just the United States. Could he respond to my constituents and others who believe that, and point out how strong is the support for action at this moment to rid the Iraqi people of the oppressive Saddam regime?

§The Prime MinisterI shall certainly do so. The UN resolution that should provide for the proper governance of Iraq should also protect totally the territorial integrity of Iraq. And this point is also important: that the oil revenues, which people falsely claim that we want to seize, should be put in a trust fund for the Iraqi people administered through the UN.

§Mr. Simon Thomas (Ceredigion)Will the Prime Minister give way?

§The Prime MinisterIn a moment.

772Let the future Government of Iraq be given the chance to begin the process of uniting the nation’s disparate groups, on a democratic basis—

§Jeremy Corbyn (Islington, North)Will the Prime Minister give way?

§The Prime MinisterIf my hon. Friend will allow me to continue for a moment, I shall come back to him.

The process must begin on a democratic basis, respecting human rights, as, indeed, the fledgling democracy in northern Iraq—protected from Saddam for 12 years by British and American pilots in the no-fly zone—has done remarkably. The moment that a new Government are in place, committed to disarming Iraq of weapons of mass destruction, is the point in time when sanctions should be lifted, and can be lifted, in their entirety for the people of Iraq.

§Jeremy CorbynI thank the Prime Minister for giving way. Can he tell the House what guarantees he has had from the Turkish Government and the Turkish military that they will not use the opportunity of a war in the south to invade the northern part of Iraq and destroy the Kurdish autonomous region and the demands of Kurdish people for their own self-determination? There is a very serious fear that the Turkish army has always wanted to destroy any vestige of Kurdish autonomy.

§The Prime MinisterTurkey has given that commitment. I have spoken to the Turkish Government, as have the President of the United States and many others. I have to say to my hon. Friend that it is clear from the conversations that I have had with people in that Kurdish autonomous zone that what they really fear above all else is the prospect of Saddam remaining in power, emboldened because we have failed to remove him.

I have never put the justification for action as regime change. We have to act within the terms set out in resolution 1441—that is our legal base. But it is the reason why I say frankly that if we do act, we should do so with a clear conscience and a strong heart. I accept fully that those who are opposed to this course of action share my detestation of Saddam. Who could not? Iraq is a potentially wealthy country which in 1979, the year before Saddam came to power, was richer than Portugal or Malaysia. Today it is impoverished, with 60 per cent. of its population dependent on food aid. Thousands of children die needlessly every year from lack of food and medicine. Four million people out of a population of just over 20 million are living in exile.

The brutality of the repression—the death and torture camps, the barbaric prisons for political opponents, the routine beatings for anyone or their families suspected of disloyalty—is well documented. Just last week, someone slandering Saddam was tied to a lamp post in a street in Baghdad, their tongue was cut out, and they were mutilated and left to bleed to death as a warning to others. I recall a few weeks ago talking to an Iraqi exile and saying to her that I understood how grim it must be under the lash of Saddam. “But you don’t”, she replied. “You cannot. You do not know what it is like to live in perpetual fear.” And she is right. We take our freedom for granted. But imagine what it must be like not to be 773able to speak or discuss or debate or even question the society you live in. To see friends and family taken away and never daring to complain. To suffer the humility of failing courage in face of pitiless terror. That is how the Iraqi people live. Leave Saddam in place, and the blunt truth is that that is how they will continue to be forced to live.

We must face the consequences of the actions that we advocate. For those of us who support the course that I am advocating, that means all the dangers of war. But for others who are opposed to this course, it means—let us be clear—that for the Iraqi people, whose only true hope lies in the removal of Saddam, the darkness will simply close back over. They will be left under his rule, without any possibility of liberation—not from us, not from anyone.

§Glenda Jackson (Hampstead and Highgate)Will the Prime Minister give way?

§The Prime MinisterIn a moment. This is the choice before us. If this House now demands that at this moment, faced with this threat from this regime, British troops are pulled back, that we turn away at the point of reckoning—this is what it means—what then? What will Saddam feel? He will feel strengthened beyond measure. What will the other states that tyrannise their people, the terrorists who threaten our existence, take from that? They will take it that the will confronting them is decaying and feeble. Who will celebrate and who will weep if we take our troops back from the Gulf now?

§Glenda JacksonWill the Prime Minister give way?

§The Prime MinisterI am sorry. If our plea is for America to work with others, to be good as well as powerful allies, will our retreat make it multilateralist, or will it not rather be the biggest impulse to unilateralism that we could possibly imagine? What then of the United Nations, and of the future of Iraq and the middle east peace process, devoid of our influence and stripped of our insistence?

The House wanted this discussion before conflict. That was a legitimate demand. It has it, and these are the choices. In this dilemma, no choice is perfect, no choice is ideal, but on this decision hangs the fate of many things: of whether we summon the strength to recognise the global challenge of the 21st century, and meet it; of the Iraqi people, groaning under years of dictatorship; of our armed forces, brave men and women of whom we can feel proud, and whose morale is high and whose purpose is clear; of the institutions and alliances that will shape our world for years to come. To retreat now, I believe, would put at hazard all that we hold dearest. To turn the United Nations back into a talking shop; to stifle the first steps of progress in the middle east; to leave the Iraqi people to the mercy of events over which we would have relinquished all power to influence for the better; to tell our allies that at the very moment of action, at the very moment when they need our determination, Britain faltered: I will not be party to such a course.

This is not the time to falter. This is the time not just for this Government—or, indeed, for this Prime Minister—but for this House to give a lead: to show that 774we will stand up for what we know to be right; to show that we will confront the tyrannies and dictatorships and terrorists who put our way of life at risk; to show, at the moment of decision, that we have the courage to do the right thing.

1.23 pm

§Mr. Iain Duncan Smith (Chingford and Woodford Green)The House and the whole country rightly recognise that we are soon likely to be at war. It is a solemn moment in the life of our nation, and our first thoughts and prayers today must be with our troops and their families as they prepare for action. The Opposition recognise the heavy responsibility that the Prime Minister and the Government have to bear. I remind the House that the Prime Minister’s decision comes at the end of 12 years of what was too often indecision by the international community.

I make it clear from the outset that the official Opposition will vote tonight in the same Lobby as the Government. In saying that, I recognise that there are honestly felt and genuinely carried differences of view on both sides of the House about further military action in Iraq. I respect those unreservedly, wherever they are held, and I recognise that they reflect strong differences of view that are felt throughout the country. However, given the differences and the difficulties that they have posed for the Government in general and for the Prime Minister in particular, I say frankly to the House that the official Opposition could somehow have sought to manoeuvre themselves into the No Lobby tonight. After all, we have argued consistently that Ministers have failed to convince the public of their case, and we have sought to hold the Government to account in the House for their mistakes. In particular, we have also pointed out the failures with regard to the humanitarian consequences of war. However, I believe that when the Government do the right thing by the British people, they deserve the support of the House, and particularly of the main Opposition.

Certain issues need to be taken head-on today. The idea that this action would become a recruiting sergeant for others to come to the colours of those who are “anti” any nation in the west is, I am afraid, nonsense. The biggest recruiting sergeant of all has been indecision, and the failure to take action to show that such resolve matters.

There are well-held views that I have respect for, but as I said, we could have sought a way to do something that would have damaged the Government. I understand that the Liberal Democrats will do just that tonight. They are, of course, entitled to their view, but I simply say this to them. One can argue that further military action by our armed forces would be illegal, or that it should be supported. But a political party surely cannot simultaneously argue that military action is illegal but should none the less be supported somehow. Yet that, we gather, is what the Liberal Democrats plan to put as their main case tonight. What is clear is that one cannot have it both ways; one has to make a decision and lead.

We are voting tonight in support of the motion not because we endorse every detail of the Prime Minister’s handling of the matter, certainly not because we are eager for conflict—as the House knows, I served in the 775armed forces, and I have some knowledge of the horror of the aftermath of conflict—and not just because we want to show our support for our troops. That said, I believe firmly that, as the Prime Minister says, they are entitled to our full support today.

Saddam Hussein is a tyrant who tortures and murders his own people. He poses a threat to the safety and stability of the middle east, and he is in complete breach of his obligations to the United Nations and to the international community. However, the main reason why we will be voting for the motion is that it is in the British national interest. Saddam Hussein has the means, the mentality and the motive to pose a direct threat to our national security. That is why we will be voting tonight to do the right thing by our troops and the British people.

§Mr. Robert N. Wareing (Liverpool, West Derby)I am interested in what the right hon. Gentleman is saying, just as I was in the Prime Minister’s speech. However, is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, between 1986 and 1991, 12 early-day motions were tabled in this House calling for the abandonment of the supply of arms to Iraq and condemning what happened at Halabja, and that all the 60 Members who signed at least one of those motions—they included me—were Labour Members? Not a single Tory name was included. However, not even the Prime Minister signed any of them; indeed, only two members of the current Cabinet did so. Yet now they are most strident. I think that—

§Mr. SpeakerOrder. The hon. Gentleman is making a speech.

§Mr. Duncan SmithThe hon. Gentleman makes a powerful case for supporting the Government’s motion tonight, and I expect that he will be in the Lobby in support.

The Prime Minister rightly pointed out that Saddam Hussein has lied to the UN for 12 years. Even now, we do not know the full extent of his arsenal, or of his facilities to develop weapons. He has the means, and as has already been said, it should be evident to everyone that he remains in breach of the obligations under 1441. He has absolutely no intention whatsoever of relinquishing the weapons that he has developed: the remaining al-Samoud 2 missiles; the Scud-B warheads; the R-400 bombs; and the tonnes of VX, anthrax, Sarin, soman, botulinum toxin, mustard gas and other deadly weapons, viruses and agents identified by Hans Blix in his report, which I recommend that every Member of this House read before passing judgment.

Saddam Hussein has not only the means but the mentality. To date, his main victims have been his own people. The tale of his rule of lawlessness is a litany of horror. Dissident women are raped, children are tortured and prisoners are trapped in steel boxes until they confess or die. As we have heard, chemical weapons have been used against the Kurds, and Shi’a villages razed to the ground. As the Prime Minister said, when Saddam Hussein came to power, Iraq was a wealthy country: today, it is impoverished.

If that was not enough, Saddam Hussein is also the man who has waged war against Iran, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Here in Britain, where we are at 776liberty to protest against any military action, we should recall—as the Prime Minister said—that such liberty does not exist for those who live in Iraq and whose tongues are ripped out if they dare to question Saddam Hussein.

When I had the privilege of visiting our troops in Kuwait, I also had the opportunity of talking to the families of 600 Kuwaiti prisoners of war, taken by Saddam Hussein at the time of the last Gulf war and still missing. I recall talking to one old man whose last sight of his son was when he was being taken away by Iraqi soldiers. He has never been returned. There is no documentary evidence of the existence of those 600 people. Inspection of the prisons is not allowed. At no time has Saddam Hussein agreed to independent inspectors telling their families what happened to them.

Some may say that 600 people do not matter in the great scheme of things, but the equivalent percentage in our population would mean that 60,000 British people were missing. How many Members would not consider that a matter of massive importance and a sign of the distinct distastefulness of that regime?

There is a huge and powerful argument to act. Saddam Hussein is in breach not only on weapons but also in personal terms for those who live and have to suffer under his regime. It is well worth meeting the dissidents and I advise all Members to do so. Their tales about what has happened to their families are harrowing. One man told me that he last saw his brother 18 years ago as he was being taken away for a minor traffic offence. His brother has never been seen again. I promise that no one will shed a tear over the departure of Saddam Hussein.

Saddam Hussein has the means and the mentality. He also has the motive. We in Britain helped to expel him from Kuwait. For more than 10 years, British forces have been enforcing the no-fly zones. We are a crucial part of the coalition that seeks to force UN resolutions upon his regime. The threat that his arsenal poses to British citizens at home and abroad cannot simply be contained. Whether in the hands of his regime or in the hands of the terrorists to whom he would give his weapons, they pose a clear danger to British citizens. To those who doubt that, I point out that only the other day Saddam said that he would strike anywhere, by land, sea or sky. Those who believe otherwise are living in cloud cuckoo land. The reality for them, as for others, is that Britain and its citizens are as much prime targets as anybody in the world.

As the Prime Minister said, Saddam’s last hope lies in his ability to string along the international community for as long as possible. People who say that another month and a half would be all right and that it is only a small delay should realise that, in another month and a half, any military action will become nigh on impossible. The delay would not be for a month and a half but would have to last until the autumn, and in the meantime, Saddam’s prevarications and games will split the international community and wreck the UN. The blame for further military action lies squarely in the hands of Saddam Hussein. It is his regime only that has made further military action necessary, yet, even now, he has the power to ensure that such action does not take place.

777It would be wrong for us not to acknowledge the consequences of that military action. I am sad to say that the Iraqi people may have to suffer yet again, but I hope and believe that, in the decision that the Prime Minister has to take, the suffering of the Iraqi people will be short-lived and that the ultimate end will be peace and security in their country.

That is why the Opposition have constantly urged the Government to set out their plans for humanitarian assistance. Our view of the lack of preparedness was endorsed by the Select Committee on International Development, which warned last week of concern about the “lack of leadership” in co-ordinating the planning and preparation of the humanitarian response to possible military action. The Committee also recommended that the Department for International Development immediately issues a statement outlining its basic humanitarian contingency plans”. We welcome the written statement made last week by the Secretary of State for International Development, but it did not explain what is being done to improve co-ordination between the Ministry of Defence and DFID. It did not establish whether DFID would set up a mechanism to co-ordinate the UK humanitarian response. It did not set out what will replace the oil-for-food programme, which feeds up to 60 per cent. of the Iraqi population. It did not spell out DFID’s plans in the event of Saddam Hussein unleashing any of his arsenal of chemical and biological weapons on his own people. Nor did it give details of how to cope with the flight of refugees. Those are pressing questions, as it is estimated that up to a million people may seek refuge on the borders. The questions need to be answered.

§Mr. Elfyn Llwyd (Meirionnydd Nant Conwy)If those preparations are so ill advanced, why is the right hon. Gentleman so keen on going to war?

§Mr. Duncan SmithThe hon. Gentleman betrays a certain ignorance. The reality is that we need to deal with Saddam Hussein regardless of those arrangements. We have rightly urged the Government that arrangements must be made and that there must be a way of dealing with the emergency requirements. I believe that that can take place and I hope that, in their response to the debate, the Government will explain how those matters will be dealt with in the course of events.

§David Burnside (South Antrim)Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

§Mr. Duncan SmithI will give way in a second.

We note the renewed commitment of the Secretary of State for International Development to her position, but we remind her of its current significance to the Iraqi people and that her recent detachment and indecision have done them and the House a disservice.

We also accept that the prospect of further military action against Iraq causes widespread anxiety among Muslims throughout the Islamic world and in Britain. It is vital to recall that the majority of Saddam Hussein’s 778victims have been Muslims; their number stretches to the appalling figure of more than 1 million. Two Muslim countries—Iran and Kuwait—were invaded by Saddam and Muslim countries bordering Iraq would not mourn his passing.

§Mr. Gordon Prentice (Pendle)If the right hon. Gentleman is so concerned about sentiments in the Muslim world, is he in favour of enforcing the outstanding resolutions on Kashmir?

§Mr. Duncan SmithDecisions on Kashmir have little to do with what is happening in this case. We want all UN resolutions to be enforced, but these circumstances are particular and peculiar. They relate to the UN resolution under chapter VII, which shows that Iraq is a direct threat to the United Nations and all who inhabit the countries around it. That is the point. It is intriguing that the hon. Gentleman and others hang on to those other resolutions as though that justifies taking no action in this case. It is right to act and we should deal with this matter right now.

§Mr. Mohammad Sarwar (Glasgow, Govan)Will the right hon. Gentleman take this opportunity to apologise to the Muslim world for supporting Saddam Hussein when he used chemical weapons against his people and killed 1 million Muslims?

§Mr. Duncan SmithI have never supported Saddam Hussein at any time when he has used any weapon, particularly not chemical weapons. What happened in Halabja was an outrage and should be condemned by everyone regardless of their views.

We remain committed to the right of Israel to exist behind secure and legally accepted borders, as the Prime Minister said, with binding guarantees of peace from its Arab neighbours, but hon. Members on both sides of the House are equally committed to the cessation of settlement activity and the establishment of a Palestinian state on the west bank. We are firmly of the view that Israel must withdraw from the occupied territories and believe that now is the time for the Government fully to embrace the process, as the Prime Minister laid it out.

There are welcome indications that the road map will be published soon, paving the way for a full and comprehensive settlement, and we realise that the Muslim world is looking to the implementation of that road map as a way forward that is coherent and consistent. It is imperative to all those committed to that road map now to prove their commitment to it during the months ahead, and I am assured that the Prime Minister will do just that.

The House knows that I have long held the view that Saddam Hussein is a threat to our national interest and that, if decisive action had been taken earlier, we would not now stand on the verge of war, but all that lies in the past, for we are entering the final phase of a 12-year history in relation to Iraq. The 17 resolutions passed since then have put Saddam Hussein under 27 separate obligations, and resolution 1441 gave him a final opportunity to meet those obligations or face the serious consequences named. More than 18 weeks have passed since he was given that final choice. More than 600 weeks have passed since he was given the first chance when the UN first entered Baghdad.

779I acknowledge that other hon. Members oppose further military action and some have general doubts and concerns, but I genuinely urge them all to consider the consequences of turning back now. In turning back, we would widen splits in NATO, stir up isolationism in the United States and abandon our allies in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Australia and many countries in eastern Europe, where people know what it is like to live under tyranny and have supported the actions of the Prime Minister and others.

Above all, we would strip the UN of its authority, betray our own national interest and send an unmistakable signal to Saddam Hussein and every rogue state and terrorist group in the world that we lack the will to enforce just demands against those tyrannical regimes. That is the road that France would have us go down, and we must not take that road.

There are matters at stake that rise above party politics. It is the duty of the Government to act in the national interest, and it is the duty of the Opposition to support them when they do so. The Prime Minister is acting in the national interest today. That is why he is entitled to our support in doing the right thing. This is a critical moment for the House. If we vote to give Saddam yet another chance, the moment will pass, our concentration will falter, our energy and our focus will disperse and our nerve will fail, with disastrous consequences for us all.

We cannot funk this challenge and leave it for future generations. We cannot heap up the problems at their door and leave them to face the consequences. We must not deprive our troops of the support that they fully deserve from all quarters of the House. We must shoulder our responsibilities and seize that moment. If we give way now, our failure will be used as a club against us in years to come. We should stand firm, act and show that we have learned from past failures. For the sake of our security and that of the wider world, I urge the House to vote for the motion tonight.

Several hon. Membersrose—

§Mr. SpeakerOrder. I will call a Back Bencher to move the amendment. I point out to the House that there is an eight-minute limit on Back-Bench speeches and that, on a day like this, it will not be appreciated if hon. Members approach the Chair—whether I or one of my Deputies is in the Chair—regarding when or whether they will speak. I call Peter Kilfoyle to move the amendment.

1.44 pm

§Mr. Peter Kilfoyle (Liverpool, Walton)I beg to move, To leave out from “1441” in line 2, to “in” in line 21 and insert— believes that the case for war against Iraq has not yet been established, especially given the absence of specific United Nations authorisation; but, in the event that hostilities do commence, pledges its total support for the British forces engaged in the Middle East, expresses its admiration for their courage, skill and devotion to duty, and hopes that their tasks will be swiftly concluded with minimal casualties on all sides. I hope to move the amendment without the rancour and personalisation that has sometimes characterised the debate on the fringes surrounding this issue because I agree with the Prime Minister when he says that this is 780one of those issues that come along once in a generation. Indeed, it is an issue that transcends many normal ties of party, friendship and even family because the outcomes of the decisions that will be taken here and elsewhere will be so tremendous. As the Prime Minister says, those decisions will set the tone for a very long time to come.

It would be remiss of me if I did not pick up a number of the points that the Prime Minister made in his speech if only to point out that he is rightly credited with being a man of conviction, but so are other right hon. and hon. Members, and with their convictions and their examination of the facts as opposed to the collection of assertions, value judgments and interpretations that seem to make up the Government’s case, they seem to draw very different conclusions.

For example, the Prime Minister made much of events back in 1938. Of course, he said that he was not suggesting that anyone was an appeaser. The only person whom I have ever appeased in my life is Mrs. Kilfoyle—not very successfully, I hasten to add. The thing that struck me, of course, was that I do not recall that the League of Nations had inspectors in Germany dismantling the panzers in 1938, as we have inspectors dismantling the weapons in Iraq today.

The Prime Minister rightly made much of the dangers of terrorism, but does that not illustrate the idiocy of fighting the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time against the wrong enemy? We are having a 19th-century gunboat war in the Gulf when the real dangers of terrorism should be isolated and dealt with as the first priority. I accept the argument that those things run concurrently, but I do not accept the linkage that is often made. The Prime Minister said that the linkage is loose, but that it is hardening. He will have privileged information that we are not privy to, but nevertheless the one thing that I can guarantee will harden that linkage is the manifest failure to deal with the underlying causes that have given us the terrorism and the situation in Iraq in the first place.

I note the fact that the Government motion refers to the road map—a road map that was torpedoed within 24 hours by Prime Minister Sharon’s insistence that he would not accept a Palestinian state.

§Mr. Robert Jackson (Wantage)Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

§Mr. KilfoyleNo. I am sorry, but I have only eight minutes.

The fourth issue that struck me was the Prime Minister’s comment that the US had a preoccupation after 9/11, which changed its world view. The US may have that preoccupation, but the Administration had set out their view long in advance of being an Administration. I refer the Prime Minister to the parliamentary record, which will show references to the letter written to President Clinton in 1998 by the Project for a New American Century in which it set out very clearly what its intentions were and urged President Clinton to mount an attack on Iraq.

Those of us who have put our names to the amendment have done so not with any sense of mischief making or because we do not recognise that those on the other side of the argument hold very sincere views, but because we are conscious of our interpretation of what 781is said. My own interpretation is that this act would be illegal, immoral and illogical. The Government will tell us that the selected evidence from the Attorney-General that has been published has satisfied the Government and ought to satisfy the House, but I prefer to take the views of the many eminent jurists who have reached very different conclusions. And yes, I also accept the view set out by Kofi Annan that the international community needed a second resolution. I am satisfied that, without that second resolution, we are getting into extremely dangerous ground and setting extremely dangerous precedents.

It is immoral because in waging this war—we should think about what the term awe and shock implies—the United States is aiming to put in 10 times as many missiles and precision bombs in the first 48 hours as it committed in the whole of the last Gulf war. That is against a country that has been decimated year after year. Regardless of the rights and wrongs, the fact is that an already destroyed, effectively third-world country will be further damaged. It seems to me grossly immoral to talk about the reconstruction of damage that one has wilfully caused.

It is illogical because, as I intimated a moment ago, we are going after the wrong enemy at the wrong time and in the wrong way. I do not believe that Saddam Hussein has been anything other than contained. I do not believe any assertion that is made without the evidence being provided that there are linkages between him and al-Qaeda. I do not believe that he has had the wherewithal, or would have it, to be able to attack the United Kingdom directly. There has been an awful lot of scaremongering that does not add to the Government’s case.

I am conscious that I am running out of time. I have mentioned once before in the House the advice that was given by Archidamus to his Spartan allies. He said that slow and cautious may be seen as wise and sensible. Many years later, the Athenian superpower, in its impatience, found out that he was absolutely right: impatience had imperilled it and led to its destruction. I say earnestly and honestly to the Government: their impatience will reap a whirlwind, which will affect us and ours for generations to come. I urge hon. Members to support the amendment.

1.51 pm

§Mr. Charles Kennedy (Ross, Skye and Inverness, West)Following the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton (Mr. Kilfoyle), I acknowledge with thanks, through him, to the right hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Smith) and to all those concerned in all parties in this House, that an honest option has been discussed and agreed in a cross-party way. In the previous debate, the right hon. Gentleman made a powerful contribution to that cross-party basis, which needs to be heard and discussed rationally today.

Although it is sad that we have lost a very good Leader of the House, there is no doubt, having listened to his brilliant resignation statement in the House yesterday evening, that those of us who are supporting the cross-party amendment in the Lobby tonight, as I and my right hon. and hon. Friends will do, have gained 782a powerful additional advocate for the case that we are sincerely making. Given the events of the past few days and the last few hours, there has been much understandable comment about the drama of the situation. In the next few hours and days, however, we are liable to see even more drama and trauma when what appears to be the inevitable military conflict against Iraq begins. Let us hope, as we all agree, that the conflict can be conducted as swiftly as possible, with the minimum of casualties: first and foremost, clearly, among our forces, but equally among innocent Iraqi civilians, with whom none of us has ever had any quarrel and who have suffered terribly under the despicable regime of Saddam Hussein.

As for those of us who remain unpersuaded as to the case at this time for war, and who have questioned whether British forces should be sent into a war without a further UN mandate having been achieved, there stands no contradiction—as the former Leader of the House and former Foreign Secretary put succinctly last night-between giving voice to that legitimate anxiety and, at the same time, as and when exchange of fire commences, looking to the rest of the country, and to all of us in the House, to give full moral support to our forces. They do not take the civilian political decision in relation to what they are being asked to do, but they must carry out that task in all our names. The shadow Leader of the House expressed that well last night, but, equally, Church leaders, who earlier expressed profound opposition to war in this way at this time, are making the same point. If, later tonight, at the conclusion of this debate, under the democratic procedures that we enjoy in this House, that is to be the decision, it is important that the whole House unites in that genuine support.

§Sir Patrick Cormack (South Staffordshire)Can I therefore take it that if the amendment is lost the right hon. Gentleman will vote for the substantive motion?

§Mr. KennedyI thank the hon. Gentleman for his question, but the answer is no. I will not do so because our consistent line is that we do not believe that a case for war has been established under these procedures in the absence of a second UN Security Council resolution. That is our position—[Interruption.]

§Mr. SpeakerOrder. The hon. Member for Chesham and Amersham (Mrs. Gillan) should not make such a remark. She will withdraw it.

Hon. MembersLet’s hear it.

§Mr. SpeakerOrder. All the House has to know is that I heard the remark.

§Mr. KennedyI will see you afterwards, Mr. Speaker—[HON. MEMBERS: ” Oh.”] I assure the House that a Glaswegian Speaker knows whether that is said as a threat or affectionately.

§Mr. Duncan SmithThe right hon. Gentleman failed to answer my hon. Friend the Member for South 783Staffordshire (Sir Patrick Cormack). Will he clear up an inconsistency? On the one hand, he said that he wanted to support the troops, while, on the other, he said that he would not support the main motion. He has a split in his party. The right hon. and learned Member for North-East Fife (Mr. Campbell) has said that legally, no new resolution is required for the use of force to implement resolution 687.”—[Official Report, 24 September 2002; Vol. 390, c. 43.] Lord Goodhart, however, has said that the existing resolutions on the Iraqi situation, particularly 1441, do not authorise armed intervention without a second resolution. Which position is that of the Liberal Democrats, and why do they travel across two separate positions?

§Mr. KennedyFirst, my noble Friend Lord Goodhart spoke with great authority as an international lawyer in the House of Lords debate last night. My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for North-East Fife (Mr. Campbell) spoke on that issue in September, before resolution 1441 was passed, and 1441 has moved the position on. I want to return to the issue of legality in a moment.

The Leader of the Conservative party chose to open his contribution with one or two remarks about me and my hon. Friends, which is perfectly fair in this debate. In relation to consistency, however, let us remind ourselves about the position of the Conservative party, for instance, on weapons of mass destruction. After Saddam Hussein used such weapons in 1988, the Conservative Government continued to sell arms to Iraq. They provided him with anthrax and other chemical weapons, and they approved the construction of dual-use factories in Iraq. When it comes to humanitarian reasons—

§Mr. Crispin Blunt (Reigate)On a point of order, Mr. Speaker, if the right hon. Gentleman is in the act of misleading the House, given that the Scott inquiry made it clear that the Conservative Government did not sell any chemical weapons to the Iraqi regime during the 1980s, how can one make him withdraw his remark?

§Mr. SpeakerI can help the hon. Gentleman. These are matters for debate, and it may be that some hon. Member may be able to rebut the right hon. Gentleman’s case.

§Mr. KennedyContinuing—

§Mr. Peter Lilley (Hitchin and Harpenden)Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Hon. MembersGive way.

§Mr. SpeakerOrder. The right hon. Gentleman is not going to give way.

§Mr. KennedyTo be fair, I am in the process of replying to the right hon. Gentleman’s party leader.

If Conservatives speak about the need for consistency on the international stage with respect to humanitarianism, as several have over many months, 784why did they not support the humanitarian intervention in Sierra Leone or the use of ground troops in Kosovo? Why did they veto 11 United Nations resolutions relating to apartheid South Africa when they were in government?

§Mr. Lilleyrose—

Hon. MembersGive way!

§Mr. KennedyWe do not need moral lectures from the Conservative party—[Interruption.]

§Mr. SpeakerOrder. The right hon. Gentleman is entitled to be heard. Every other party leader has been listened to properly and he should get that courtesy too.

§Mr. KennedyThank you, Mr. Speaker.

My concluding remark to the leader of the Conservative party is that if I saw the names of three former Cabinet Ministers who served in the last Conservative Government listed in support of the amendment on the Order Paper, I might try to sort out my own party before I started lecturing other party leaders.

§Mr. Lilleyrose—

Hon. MembersGive way!

§Mr. KennedyThere are legitimate questions that need to be raised—

§Mr. Andrew Mackay (Bracknell)On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Is it in order for the leader of the Liberal Democrats not to give way to a right hon. Member who was Minister when the accusations were made?

§Mr. SpeakerThat is not a point of order. The right hon. Gentleman should know better.

§Mr. KennedyI do not think that the Conservatives like the more extensive answer that their leader just received.

As the activity of our armed forces progresses, legitimate questions—

§Mr. LilleyWill the right hon. Gentleman give way?

§Mr. KennedyNo, I am not giving way—[Interruption.]

§Mr. SpeakerOrder. The right hon. Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr. Lilley) is disrupting the speech. Take my word for it: the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Inverness, West (Mr. Kennedy) is not going to give way.

§Mr. KennedyWhen it comes to the further engagement of our armed forces, it would be proper for hon. Members to raise legitimate questions, as many have in all parties, on the supply and suitability of 785equipment, the eventual war aims, the participation of British forces and the bombs that might be used. It would be right to ask whether we would desist from resorting to cluster bombs or depleted uranium. It would also be right to ask about the longer term role that we hope British forces will play, if the war ensues, in the humanitarian and reconstruction roles on which they have such a distinguished track record. That is why we have supported the UN route, and it will be a source of great regret if the motion is passed because British troops will be put into action.

There are, however, two specific things on which the Government are right to expect and deserve significant credit over the course of the past six months. The first is that they were instrumental in persuading a reluctant United States to go down the UN route. Everything that I have been party to and privy to over the past six months persuades me that that is the case. The second is that the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and other senior colleagues have been consistent in emphasising to the Americans and others the primary need to re-establish a meaningful middle east peace process.

§Jim Knight (South Dorset)Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

§Mr. KennedyI shall just finish this point and then of course I shall give way.

§Michael Fabricant (Lichfield)Oh! You will not give way to the person you accused. What a disgrace!

§Mr. SpeakerOrder. The hon. Gentleman must calm himself.

§Mr. KennedyThank you, Mr. Speaker.

What makes this week so sadly ironic is that the very moment when the Bush Administration at last embraced the fresh urgency over the middle east peace process was the very time when they chose to abandon the UN route. Let us face it, having taken the decision to abandon the UN route, the sudden embrace of the middle east peace process with refreshed urgency arouses the suspicion among many that the two are not unconnected and, perhaps, that if they are willing to do one, they may be willing to abandon the other or to go lukewarm at a later stage.

§Jim Knightrose—

§Mr. KennedyI shall give way to the hon. Member for South Dorset (Jim Knight) first.

§Jim KnightI am most grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for giving way, although it is tempting to ask why he gives way to some hon. Members and not to others. He pays tribute—rightly, in my view—to the Prime Minister for engaging with the United States, but he also believes that it is right to release them into isolationism, which makes progress on the middle east settlement less likely. Why is that?

§Mr. KennedyI do not accept that thesis, and I shall explain exactly why. It is best summed up by the words 786used by Kofi Annan over the past few days. In the absence of a further explicit United Nations resolution, which is obviously the position in which we find ourselves, he remarked last week: The legitimacy and support for any such action will be seriously impaired. If the USA and others go outside the Council and take military action it will be not be in conformity with the Charter. That raises very serious questions on which we should reflect. Only yesterday afternoon, the Secretary-General said: If the action is to take place without the support of the Council, its legitimacy will be questioned and the international support will be diminished. We are right to reflect on those considerations.

§Mr. Robert JacksonThe right hon. Gentleman has not answered the question asked by the hon. Member for South Dorset (Jim Knight). Having quite correctly praised the Prime Minister and the Government for the influence that they have exerted on the middle east peace process, will he please explain how his vote tonight will contribute to maximising British influence on that process?

§Mr. KennedyI think that I have responded to that. It is best for the process to proceed through the auspices of the United Nations itself. If we undermine the legitimacy and authority of the United Nations, that cannot assist us in re-establishing the middle east peace process.

Although I have never been persuaded of a causal link between the Iraqi regime, al-Qaeda and 11 September, I believe that the impact of war in these circumstances is bound to weaken the international coalition against terrorism itself, and not least in the Muslim world. The big fear that many of us have is that the action will simply breed further generations of suicide bombers.

§Mr. Mohammad Sarwar (Glasgow, Govan)Does the right hon. Gentleman agree that the reason for the failure of the United Nations and diplomacy is not the threat posed by the French, Germans, Russians, Chinese and the international community, but the American Administration of hawks and oil merchants who have no intention of finding—and no reason to find—a peaceful resolution to the crisis?

§Mr. KennedyThere is great anxiety in the country, especially about the more hawkish elements of the Bush Administration. If the people of this country were given the choice of whom they would prefer to vest their trust in, they would undoubtedly go for the present Secretary-General of the United Nations rather than the President of the United States.

§Mr. Andrew Turner (Isle of Wight)Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

§Mr. KennedyNo. I shall not give way now; I want to make progress.

Last night, the Foreign Secretary told the House that everyone knew what they were signing up to on 787resolution 1441. However, we should consider what the British and American ambassadors said when they secured that unanimity. The British ambassador said: Let me be equally clear in response, as a co-sponsor with the USA of the text we have just adopted, there is no ‘automaticity’ in this resolution. The American ambassador—his counterpart—said: If there is a further Iraqi breach…the matter will return to the Council for discussions as required.

With China, France and Russia, as permanent members, not acknowledging that an automatic trigger has taken place, it is clear that people agreed to resolution 1441 on different bases. The historians will have to judge why that came about, but that is the position in which we find ourselves. To circumvent the continuing legitimate task of the weapons inspectors, who say, and who have been instructed unanimously in the name of the international community, our own countries included, that they should be given extra space, to cut that process short, will cause all the international disorder, tension and potential chaos that we are warning against and have been for quite some time.

§Mr. Andrew Miller (Ellesmere Port and Neston)Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

§Mr. KennedyNo, I am about to conclude.

Before launching an almighty assault upon Iraq, is it not better to pursue the course of disarmament on the ground in the presence of weapons inspectors? No matter how sophisticated modern technology, even compared with at the time of the last Gulf war, is it not more precise to have weapons dismantled in the presence of inspectors rather than so-called precision bombing trying to take them out?

There is huge public anxiety in Britain. That is the mark of a fundamentally decent society. All of us, whatever our views, whatever our parties, know that the kind of people contacting us are very different from many of those with whom we deal regularly. They are the kind of people who say, “I have never contacted a Member of Parliament before,” or “I’ve never been politically active before.” They are the kind of people who have never gone on a march or attended a vigil before. Another significant point is that, whether or not they agree with the Prime Minister, only a tiny fraction ever call into question his sincerity in this matter. I have never done so and I do not do so today. But much as they detest Saddam’s brutality, they are not persuaded that the case for war has been adequately made at this point, they are worried about the new doctrine of regime change, they are wary of the Bush Administration’s motives, and they do not like to see Britain separated from its natural international allies.

The cross-party amendment is the correct amendment. It is tabled at the correct time, and, if passed, would send the correct signal. It is on those grounds that the Liberal Democrats will vote for it tonight.

2.12 pm

§Alan Howarth (Newport, East)Anyone who has studied the document “Unresolved Disarmament Issues” provided by Hans Blix and the inspectors to the 788United Nations on 6 March cannot be in any doubt that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. It sets out the history of his deception and of his continuous and unrelenting attempts to build his arsenal. The requirement that must be placed upon him if he is to come into compliance is set out, as, glaringly, is the huge gulf between his compliance so far and what should be required. The document is scrupulous, sober and chilling. We cannot doubt that Saddam needs to disarm, but that he is failing to comply immediately, unconditionally and actively.

There is, of course, much disagreement about the tactics to bring him into compliance. The French, the Germans and the Russians have taken the view that a further series of inspections extending into the months ahead would be a satisfactory and plausible means to make the progress that is needed.

§Lynne JonesIn that document, does not Hans Blix say: While a precise description of the disarmament issue to be resolved is generally not too difficult, an exhaustive definition of the ways in which it may be solved is often hard. He was asking for more time—months, not years, not days. Surely he understands his own document.

§Alan HowarthHans Blix spells out the extraordinary complexity and difficulty of his task in 173 pages, and anyone who wants to make a judgment with any confidence needs to study that document. My hon. Friend has done so, as have I, and we disagree in our view of it.

Saddam has strung us along over many years and it is a sentimental view that says that a tyrant who has maintained his regime on the basis of violence is likely to capitulate to non-violent means. The position taken by France is unrealistic because we know for sure that Saddam Hussein is adept at spinning out the whole process, and he will never create a situation in which it will be possible for Hans Blix to come to the United Nations and say, “The process has failed; it has run into the sands.” It was only on that basis that France said that it would be willing to contemplate war. It is also evasive because it is not fair or proper to require the inspectors—the officials, the technicians—to take the decision between peace and war. That decision has to be taken by politicians and in the Security Council.

§Mr. Dominic Grieve (Beaconsfield)In that context, does the right hon. Gentleman agree that the suggestion made by the leader of the Liberal Democrats that the inspectors had already achieved much in the past six months, not some prospective achievement, is, on the basis of Mr. Blix’s report, frankly laughable?

§Alan HowarthThe progress is clearly demonstrated to have been minimal and Hans Blix signifies how much more progress would be needed. There is no reason to suppose that a perpetuation of the process that we have observed over the past six months will lead to the conclusion that is needed.

§Mr. Robert JacksonIs the right hon. Gentleman aware of any offer from France, Russia or China to 789rotate its forces in the Gulf with the American and British forces in order to continue pressure on Saddam over the months and years ahead of further inspections?

§Alan HowarthThe hon. Gentleman makes an excellent point. As my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister noted earlier in the debate, it is American and British forces that are there, not French forces or forces of other nationalities from the Security Council.

Those who raise doubts about the course of action that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has concluded is appropriate for us ask whether Saddam is truly a threat to us. I remind the House what was in the dossier published by the Government last October. It is not the dossier that was submitted for a PhD; it is the dossier based on the findings of the intelligence community. Among many other important findings, on page 27 we are advised that if Saddam were to be unchecked he would achieve nuclear capability in a period of not more than five years, and that were he to be supplied from the international black market with fissile material and other components that he would need for the programme it might be in as little time as one or two years.

§Mr. Gordon PrenticeWill my right hon. Friend give way?

§Alan HowarthIf my hon. Friend will allow me, I shall continue.

That is an extraordinarily dangerous situation and one upon which we need to act, and with urgency. I agree with the Government that the time that has elapsed since then has been ample to enable Saddam to demonstrate his compliance and it is simply too great a risk—

§Mr. PrenticeWill my right hon. Friend give way on that point?

§Alan HowarthIf my hon. Friend will allow me, I shall continue.

It is said that we are not seriously at threat from global terrorism; that there is not a link between Saddam and al-Qaeda. Certainly the Spanish and Czech authorities, as was significantly reported in The Observer at the weekend, believe that there have been operational links. The risk is too great to run, because Saddam must be tempted to recruit and equip terrorists from wherever he can find them. There may indeed be a coincidence of interests between al-Qaeda and Saddam’s regime, notwithstanding the fact that they start from profoundly different ideological positions.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary noted to the House some time ago that Saddam was operating what he described as a permissive regime in Iraq in relation to al-Qaeda. Whatever the case may be about that, it will be compellingly tempting for him to equip home-grown terrorists—terrorists whom he can recruit. Saddam harboured Abu Nidal and offered rewards to suicide bombers in the middle east. He is a sponsor of terrorism and will see the opportunity that is available to him.

790Objections to the Government’s policy include assertions that in the past appalling mistakes were made—that the UK played some part in arming Saddam, that we failed to dispose of him in 1991, and that during the 1990s he was allowed to continue to build weapons of mass destruction. We may note that those errors were made, but they provide no justification for making further errors.

People cast doubt on the motives and character of those who urge that decisive action be taken now by asking who is on whose payroll, what old scores are being settled and what vanities are in play. I remind the House that the freedom of Europe has depended on the generosity of American intervention. It is arguable that if it were not for the Americans coming to our rescue, we would have fallen under Nazi or Stalinist rule. We should pay tribute to and be grateful for the courage of American military personnel then and now.

§Mrs. Alice Mahon (Halifax)Will my right hon. Friend give way?

§Alan HowarthNo, if my hon. Friend will forgive me.

North Korea might present a threat that is at least as urgent and serious as the threat presented by Iraq. Al-Qaeda and international terrorism are immensely serious threats. But that in no way invalidates the analysis that Iraq is a major threat to us.

People ask how it can be right to go to war to uphold a UN resolution by taking a course of action that risks destroying the UN. Equally, they say, NATO and the EU are damagingly split as a consequence of these events. However, it is arguable that the UN has not been the failure in every respect that some maintain it has been. In recent weeks and months, it has been the cockpit of international diplomacy, and, although it has failed to generate the international consensus that we all wanted so much, its existence provides the legal basis for the action that we need. I support the view of the legality of that action on which the Government base their claim.

Geopolitics has changed since 1945. We moved beyond the cold war, and we moved into a new period especially after 11 September. Now, we have to act with courage and realism in a world of nuclear powers, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, failed states, genocide—[Interruption.]—and all the other dangers that now face us—

§Madam Deputy Speaker (Sylvia Heal)Order. There is far too much conversation in the Chamber.

§Alan HowarthI am grateful to you, Madam Deputy Speaker.

In a world in which the only global superpower feels vulnerable, the development and advancement of a doctrine of pre-emption are inevitable. This action is self-defence, albeit not as traditionally defined in UN terms. We cannot wait until we are attacked.

2.23 pm

§Mr. William Hague (Richmond, Yorks)I rise on this occasion to support the speech of the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, but in opening let me comment on the speech of the leader of the Liberal Democrats.

791If the Iraqi army collapse under fire with the same speed, this will be a very short war—[Laughter.]—and I very much hope that it will be. The right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Inverness, West (Mr. Kennedy) asserted that if his view was defeated, the whole House must rally in unity, but he then informed my hon. Friend the Member for South Staffordshire (Sir Patrick Cormack) that if the amendment was defeated he would refuse to vote for the Government’s substantive motion. On the grounds that he was poleaxed by that intervention, he refused to take an intervention from my right hon. Friend the Member for Hitchin and Harpenden (Mr. Lilley), despite the normal convention of the House that one gives way to a Member to whom one has directly or indirectly referred. My right hon. Friend would have pointed out that he published all 90,000 export licences to Iraq during the period in question and that the only lethal weapons involved were two hunting rifles. I wish that the right hon. Gentleman had given my right hon. Friend the opportunity to do so.

There is a powerful moral case against war—there probably always is—but that was not the case put by the Liberal Democrats today. A more powerful case was put by the right hon. Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook), in what I thought was a powerful and impressive speech made in the House last night. It was an impressive resignation, for those of us who are students of resignations. On that subject, I am sorry to see that the Secretary of State for International Development is not here—I have never seen a more spectacular failure to resign than hers over the past 24 hours. Last week, after the right hon. Lady said that the Prime Minister was reckless, it was whispered in the corridors that he would take his revenge in due course. I believe that by persuading her to stay in the Cabinet even for this last 24 hours—[Laughter.]—he has now taken his revenge. Even setting aside any issue of honour and consistency, we should at this time have a Cabinet whose members are absolutely, 100 per cent. agreed on the course of action, especially all the Ministers involved in the course of action, which must surely involve the Department for International Development. We look forward to the Prime Minister continuing to take his revenge over the next few days.

The Prime Minister said that analogies with the 30s can be taken too far, and of course they can, yet in some of the opposition to the Government’s stance there is a hint of appeasement. Last night, one hon. Member—I think it was a Liberal Democrat—said that we should not take this action because of the danger of terrorist or other retaliatory action against this country. There is a similarity to the phoney war in 1940, when the commanders in charge of the great guns of the Maginot line—we all know who was in charge—refused to fire those guns in case the Germans fired back. But of course the Germans were always going to fire back, and terrorist organisations that have the capability to hit this country will try in any event to hit this country. Our job is to deter them from doing so and remove their means of doing so.

The Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition stood on the right ground when advancing their policy today. Although there are moral arguments on either side, there are powerful moral arguments on the side of military action, as the hon. Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd) has so graphically demonstrated in recent 792days—perhaps she will have the chance to do so again in this debate, if she catches your eye, Madam Deputy Speaker. Furthermore, although there are legal arguments on either side, we are not morally obliged to take action—if we were, we would have to take action against many other countries—nor legally obliged to do so, nor legally prevented from doing so. We should take action because it is in the national interest. The Prime Minister was right to make that argument.

Our national interest is wide ranging, given that ours is the fourth largest economy in the world, our trade extends across the world and our citizens may be found throughout the world. However, it is also part of our national interest to act in concert with the United States of America in matters of world peace and stability, and that is what the Government are seeking to do. Every serious attempt to advance peace in the middle east has been advanced under the auspices of the United States of America. Every successful attempt to clean up the Balkans has been undertaken only with the support of the United States of America. Those who will not venture out when a criminal is coming down the street should not complain when someone acts as the policeman. The reason why the USA takes on so many responsibilities in the world is that others shirk those responsibilities, as they have done in the Security Council in the past few weeks.

§Mr. Jon Owen JonesIs the right hon. Gentleman’s point that the United States is inevitably correct in every action it takes? Does he think that the then UK Government should have supported America in its invasion of Grenada, and that the then Labour Government should have supported the American action in Vietnam?

§Mr. HagueNo, I do not think that we should have supported the invasion of Grenada. The hon. Gentleman will remember the sharp differences between the Prime Minister, Lady Thatcher, and the US Administration. That shows that it is possible to have a firm alliance with the United States while differing with it from time to time. That is exactly the policy of the Government. Of course, there will be differences from time to time, but when major issues of the stability of the world and the future conduct of world diplomacy are at issue, it will generally be in the interests of the United Kingdom to act in concert with the United States of America.

we should remember that whenever we really need help, we turn to the United States of America, and Europe turns to the United States. Without America, France would have lived under dictatorship for decades. Without America, the Germans would not have rescued themselves from a racist ideology. Without America, Europe would have exchanged Nazi tyranny for communist tyranny in the 1940s. We turned to America, and our alliance with the United States is a fundamental attribute of the foreign policy of this nation when it is correctly conducted. For all our many differences with the Prime Minister, I believe that he has understood that from the beginning.

§Lembit Öpik (Montgomeryshire)Does the right hon. Gentleman accept that those of us who now differ with American policy do so because terrorism is fuelled not 793by resources and equipment, but by motivation? We feel that the motivation for terrorism has been provided by the very act of attack.

§Mr. HagueRelieved of my responsibilities of a while ago, I have been lucky enough to travel a great deal in the past year. I have travelled to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, and I have spoken to many people. I can tell the hon. Gentleman that they do not care what happens to Saddam Hussein. They have no time for Saddam Hussein. They care passionately about Palestine and Israel, which is why it is so important that the so-called road map is put forward. They will not shed a single tear for Saddam Hussein, because they know many of the things that have been done to the people of Iraq under the rule of Saddam Hussein. So if the hon. Gentleman believes that it is a recruiting sergeant for terrorism to rid the world of that despotic dictatorship, he is making a serious mistake. We would be setting a new standard of deterrence—a new type of deterrence, which is necessary in a changed world.

We all grew up in the cold war. We are familiar with the cold war and the balance of terror, when it was always necessary to be ready for action, but always necessary to take minimal action so as not to disturb the balance of power in the world. But now the world has changed. Now there is no balance of power and the dangers to world peace are not from all-out nuclear confrontation between superpowers, but from the development of new weapons by rogue states and terrorist organisations.

Deterrence therefore takes on a new character. It is not a matter of being ready for action. It is occasionally and it will occasionally be necessary to take action to make sure that those who aspire to be rogue states or sponsors of terrorism know what happens and know how the western alliance responds to such a threat. That is why it is so important in this case to take action and to set the standard for the future. Those who say that action is not necessary now must remember that we have passed so many deadlines, so many ultimatums, that not to take action now is to reduce the credibility of any action being taken. The time has come for a decision. The Prime Minister has put before the House the right decision. He deserves the support of hon. Members in all parts of the House.

2.33 pm

§David Winnick (Walsall, North)I regret that my right hon. Friend the Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook) has resigned. I considered him a very good Foreign Secretary and an excellent Leader of the House, and it is regrettable that he has resigned. Although I understand the reasons, I disagree with them. We shall miss him in government.

While I am on the subject of resignations, I regret the fact that my right hon. Friend the Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Denham) has also decided to resign, but I am glad that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for International Development will be staying on.

The present situation reminds me of the time after Kuwait was invaded in August 1990. The United Nations Security Council gave the regime four months 794to leave Kuwait. Saddam Hussein refused to do so. There are those present today who opposed the liberation of Kuwait, as they had every right to do, and who oppose the motion today. That does not include all the critics, by any means. Quite a number took a different line, if they were in the House, but some, including the Father of the House, argued strongly that we should not take military action to liberate Kuwait. What would have been the position had we not done so? Saddam Hussein would have been strengthened and would have realised that he could commit aggression with no response whatever.

Some of today’s critics were no less opposed to action that was taken over Kosovo and Afghanistan. They argued—as I said, they had every right to do so—that we should not take such action. When we are accused of being anti-Muslim, when that vile accusation is directed at us, I would ask the House: why did we go into Kosovo? Was it to help the Christians, the Jews, the Sikhs, or the Hindus? The only reason that we intervened in Kosovo was to help the ethnic Albanians, who happen, as we all know, to be Muslims. That was the only reason and the only justification.

The way to demonstrate again our commitment in respect of the position of Muslims is for the international community, and not least the United States, to bring about a settlement in the middle east. I make no apology for the fact that I have supported the state of Israel from the very beginning, and for all the obvious reasons—what happened to Jews, not only in the holocaust but over 2,000 years—but I support an Israel within the 1967 borders. If the Jews are justified in having a state for all the reasons that I have just explained, the Palestinians are also justified in having a state of their own—not a sort of statelet, but a sovereign state, no less sovereign than Israel itself. I hope that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will make sure that the United States pursues that policy in practice, and does not just say certain words at this particular time.

§Mr. DalyellMy hon. Friend rebukes me for Afghanistan. Were we so wrong to have doubts? Was not the object to apprehend Osama bin Laden? That has not happened. The production of opium, which three years ago was 185 tonnes, is now 2,700 tonnes. When my hon. Friends visit Kabul, apparently they are not allowed out of the city because of the dangers of the warlords. Is that success?

§David WinnickMy hon. Friend has demonstrated again that he was wrong, as he has been on virtually every military intervention, from the Falklands to Afghanistan. The Taliban, who gave room to the terrorists, were defeated, and in my view the action taken was right. I am sorry that my hon. Friend disagrees.

As I said in an intervention on my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister, the Security Council has been at fault. It should have been far tougher over the past 12 years. We have reached the present position because some Security Council members took the view that after Kuwait there should be a less tough response to Saddam Hussein, and he has played around. Such a tyrant has exploited every disunity, as he is doing now, on the eve of military action, for his own advantage. It is unfortunate that no tougher action was taken.

795In previous debates, I listened to some of my hon. Friends criticising the United States. As I want my own Government to be more radical, I am hardly likely to be a fan of the United States President, but when I listened to some of that criticism made by hon. Members who said not a single word of criticism about the murderous tyrant in Baghdad, I thought that there was a lack of logic somewhere along the line. Surely our criticism should first and foremost be directed at the dictator.

I have always taken the view that if war can be avoided, it should be avoided, because of the casualties. It is no use those of us who support the Government line kidding ourselves. Innocent people will be killed. In the next few weeks, men, women and children—people who should never be killed—will be put to death, but we know that that is the result of war and military intervention. Unlike the critics, I believe that if Saddam is destroyed, it will be a significant victory not only for the international community, but first and foremost for the people of Iraq.

We have been told that there are many dictators in this world. Unfortunately, that is so and I wish it were otherwise, but I do not understand the logic of those who say, “There are many dictators, so why pick on this one?” If, as a result of the regime’s refusal to get rid of weapons of mass destruction, one of the most murderous tyrannies is destroyed, surely that is a positive gain. Surely the fact that we cannot take on every dictator or many other dictators is not a reason or justification for not seeing the end of the regime in Iraq. Of course, not a single critic has, on other occasions or today, given any indication of how Saddam Hussein could be got rid of except by military action. No one here today will argue that it is up to the people of Iraq. How can it be? It is only by military action that this tyranny can be destroyed.

I make no apology for saying that the international community as such has on many occasions turned a blind eye to tyrannies. However, I was very pleased in 1979, for example, when Tanzania liberated Uganda from the Amin regime. Was that wrong? When Pol Pot was destroyed by Vietnam, also in 1979, was that wrong? Would anyone here argue along different lines?

In conclusion, I want simply to say that this crisis has been brought about not by the British or American Governments, but by the murderous dictator in Baghdad. If military action is taken, as we all know it will be, I wish the British and allied troops every possible success. I do not believe that we can be neutral in judging between a murderous tyranny and the democracies that will be engaged in fighting it. I believe that right is on our side and that the overwhelming majority of people in Iraq will take the view that the allied armies are liberators, as they will be getting rid of a tyrant that those people themselves cannot get rid of.

For all those reasons, I shall take much pride tonight in voting for the Government motion.

2.42 pm

§Mr. Douglas Hogg (Sleaford and North Hykeham)Last night, this House heard a speech of very great distinction from the right hon. Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook). What he said was dignified and of great quality, and the fact and manner of his resignation did honour to him and, in a small way, did credit to this 796beleaguered profession of politics. May I also say to the right hon. Member for Southampton, lichen (Mr. Denham), who I believe has resigned, that his decision, too, is an extremely honourable one?

The Speaker has been extremely generous to me in previous debates and I know that I have had the opportunity to express my views in some detail on a number of occasions. I shall therefore confine myself today to making but three points. First, so far as the British forces are concerned, war is not inevitable. That may not be true of the United States forces, but it is true of the British ones., for this reason: the Government, very much to their credit, have tabled a motion before the deployment of forces into conflict. The House therefore has a choice. If we accept the amendment and reject the Government motion, British forces will not be deployed into action. That is a choice for each and every one of us to make. So as far as British forces are concerned, war is not inevitable. We have to decide that.

Secondly, in the course of this debate and on previous occasions, a great deal of criticism has been made of the Governments of France and Germany, and of Russia and China to a lesser degree. Of course it is true that when nations vote on policy, they bring into account their own national interests—I have no doubt that national interests were involved—but it should have surprised nobody that we did not secure a consensus in the Security Council. If we are honest with ourselves, we do not have a consensus in the House or in this country. In all probability, there is not support for war. Why? Because the case for war is not overwhelming.

I do not speak of the legalities. I have read what the Attorney-General said about that matter and I do not feel competent to express a view as to whether he is right or wrong, but I am competent to say this: many distinguished lawyers—as distinguished as the Attorney-General—will take a contrary view. In any event, if I am honest, I do not think that the legalities go to the root of the matter. The real question is whether it is right—right expressed in moral terms. Here I have to say that I think that the answer is no, because I do not think that any of the usual characteristics of a just war have been satisfied. If we were dealing with a situation in which Iraq had attacked another country or had mustered troops on the frontiers of another country, or if there were compelling evidence that Iraq was delivering to terrorists weapons of mass destruction with which they could attack another country, I would vote for war, but none of those circumstances exists.

§Mike GapesWhat would the right hon. and learned Gentleman say to the Iraqi Kurds who are suffering under the repression of Saddam and being expelled from Kirkuk at this moment? Would he merely say, “Tough—you are going to have to suffer another 12 or 35 years of it”?

§Mr. HoggNo; I would not express myself in that way. We are talking about the morality of war, and I do not believe that what is going on in Iraq is a sufficient moral basis for war.

§Mr. Stuart Bell (Middlesbrough)As a fellow lawyer, I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for giving way. Can he really suggest that Saddam is not attacking his own people when 2 million have died in 797tyranny, 7,000 have been gassed, 180,000 men, women and children in Kurdistan have been forcibly removed and the whereabouts of 650 Kuwaiti civilians is still unknown? Is that not an attack on a people?

§Mr. HoggI was talking about the international risk that Saddam Hussein poses and saying that the normal tests for war have not been satisfied in this case.

That brings me to my last point. I accept that there is a terrible dilemma. Incidentally, it has not come about as the result of policy decisions in the past two or three weeks, but stems from the policy decision made in the latter part of last year, when the United States and United Kingdom Governments decided further to disarm Iraq using force if necessary. I regard that as a critical mistake, because the policies of containment and deterrence had worked from 1991 to 2002 and would have continued to do so. That was the critical mistake.

Now we stand in the dilemma. The Prime Minister has identified it and so has my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr. Duncan Smith): if we go to war, we affront the principles of morality to which I referred and the principles of legality, which I think are in doubt; if we do not go to war, it is true that the authority of the United Nations will have been defied and the credibility of the United States and, to a lesser extent, ourselves will be at risk.

So what is the way forward? How do hon. Members and reasonably minded people decide that dilemma? I can only offer my explanation. The right hon. Member for Livingston spoke yesterday of the consequences. If we go to war, the probability is that thousands and maybe tens of thousands of people will be killed or injured on all sides. That seems to me the principal question with which we should concern ourselves. I cannot find a sufficient moral case for condemning thousands or tens and thousands of people to death and injury. For that reason, because I think that war lacks a moral basis, I shall vote for the amendment and against the Government’s motion.

2.49 pm

§Mr. John Denham (Southampton, Itchen)With regret, I resigned from the Government this morning. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve the Government and the Prime Minister since 1997. Although some have at times questioned the Government’s direction, I say with all honesty that not a day has passed when I have felt that I could not make some difference on the very issues that brought me into the Labour party 27 years ago. I shall certainly miss being part of the Government.

The events of 9/11 must have brought home to us all the fact that we have created a world of great danger and great insecurity. That action must be taken, that we must tackle the sources and causes of insecurity, is not in doubt. But it is not simply a question of whether we take action; how we take action is al so important. The reason for that is simple. If we act in the wrong way, we will create more of the problems that we aim to tackle. For every cause of insecurity with which we try to deal, we shall create a new one.

798I am not a pacifist. I am not against armed intervention. In 1992, I was one of the Labour Members of Parliament who called for much earlier intervention in Bosnia. I shall never forget the surprised and bemused expression on John Smith’s face when some 20 newly elected Labour Members of Parliament went to see him to demand Labour support for a foreign war. I believe that we should have supported it, and that, had we done so, Balkan history might be different. I supported our action in Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.

After 9/11, however, it should have been clear that the scale and nature of the threats to global security required the world community to come together on an unprecedented scale, not only to defeat terrorism, but to tackle the conflicts that give rise to it and other threats. For a time, not least thanks to our Prime Minister, such coming together seemed possible. Today, the prospect is severely damaged, if not in disarray. That has happened not simply or primarily because of one country across the channel, unprincipled and disastrously unilateral in its way though France has been. It has happened because those who wish to take action now, and in the way in which we are considering, have failed to persuade others and thus create international consensus on the need to do so.

The question for me has never been one of narrow legality. I was in the Home Office long enough to know that lawyers are the last thing one needs when things are difficult. It is a question not of one or two votes either way in the Security Council, but of whether we can put our hands on our hearts and say that the majority of those who should support us do so. I do not believe that they do.

I do not blame the Prime Minister for that. No one could have worked harder to forge consensus. His achievements are real, not least in persuading the US Administration to take the United Nations route. However, our Prime Minister has been ill served by those whom he sought to influence. The US Administration appear at times to delight in stressing their disdain for international opinion and in asserting their right to determine not only the target but the means and the timetable, their gratuitous actions apparently designed to make a common voice impossible, not least here in Europe. That has made the international coming together that we need impossible to achieve.

In future, people will ask how one nation could have thrown away the world’s sympathy in such a way. Does anyone doubt that a nation of such power, influence and, in many ways, such genuine authority could have built the support that we needed if it believed that necessary? I am not indulging in anti-Americanism, but simply recognising that unilateralism on such a scale, no matter how legitimate the target, brings danger.

The action against Iraq is, I believe, pre-emptive, and therefore demands even greater international support and consensus than other sorts of intervention. We do not have it. Such isolation entails a genuine cost and danger. It undermines the legitimacy that we must maintain to tackle the many threats to global security. It fuels the movements that are antipathetic to our values and way of life, and the view, which is probably the reality, that in an interdependent world, one nation 799reserves the right to determine which of the world’s problems should be tackled, when, where and in what way.

§Mr. David Tredinnick (Bosworth)Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

§Mr. DenhamI shall not give way. I have never made a resignation speech before, and I should like to get to the end of it.

The right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Hague) set out a powerful case for support for a United States that acts in the manner I described. If I believed that that would work, I could swallow my qualms and sign up for that with the right hon. Gentleman. But I do not. I believe that the reaction to such a method of working will be as dangerous as the problems that we are trying to solve. It will turn many parts of the world against us, undermine friendly Governments, fuel terrorism and those who will join it in the future, and make it more difficult to sustain international action against common problems.

If the motion were on the honesty, integrity, commitment and sheer courage of our Prime Minister, I would not hesitate to support it. However, we are voting not for that but for the words on the Order Paper and the consequences that will follow in the weeks, months and years ahead. I cannot support it.

My final point is a difficult one. I, too, have constituents who are in our armed forces in the Gulf, and their families at home. The failures of Governments and of the international community are not their failings. Although I clearly do not believe that we should commit our troops to action now, they should not feel that they are on the wrong side, that the enemy they face is not evil or that the world would not be a better place without Saddam Hussein.

If the vote of the House commits our troops to fight, we must stand with them. We may have failed them; I doubt whether they will fail us.

2.57 pm

§Sir Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield)I am pleased to follow the right hon. Member for Southampton, Itchen (Mr. Denham). I congratulate him on the quiet and dignified way in which he made his resignation speech and personal statement. He will be remembered for the principle that he has established and I honour him for that.

At a time of crisis, the House often rises to the occasion. That happened last night when the right hon. Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook), who was Leader of the House, made his personal statement and resignation speech. He made a powerful case for his decision. He was a distinguished Minister, not only as Foreign Secretary but as Leader of the House. I admired his commitment in both high offices. I tried to work with him in a small way in his capacity as Chairman of the Modernisation Committee. He has made changes that have benefited the House. He is one of the most entertaining and articulate speakers in the House, and we shall miss him.

Today, the Prime Minister made a brilliant, articulate and powerful case for the motion. I hope that his speech will receive wide publicity. The overwhelming majority 800of people in this country, many of whom are worried about the Government’s intentions, will be persuaded by the transparent and powerful way in which he presented the argument on behalf of the Government. My right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition fully supported the position in a speech that took up many of the Prime Minister’s points.

I will be supporting the Government in the Lobby tonight. I have no disagreement with any part of the lengthy but substantive motion that they have tabled. I am not in favour of war. In fact, I am positively opposed to it. War is brutal, cruel and indiscriminate. Innocent people will undoubtedly die in any conflict that takes place, but there are occasions on which war is inevitable if the civilised world is to defend its civilisation against a despotic tyrant such as Saddam Hussein.

Like a number of other hon. Members, I have served in Her Majesty’s forces—not as a regular officer but as a national service officer—and I understand the way in which our armed services live, and their loyalty and team spirit. Like everyone else who has spoken, I express the hope that this will be a short war and that the minimum casualties will be incurred, not only in our armed services but among civilians as well. Members of my own family have served in wars, in north Africa and Burma, at Dunkirk, in Normandy and, more recently, in the Korean war. So, to those who say that people like me who agree with the Government do not know what we are doing, I would say that we do know. Likewise, I honour and respect the position that has been expressed by the right hon. Members for Livingston and for Southampton, Itchen.

§David BurnsideMy hon. Friend mentioned the great service provided by the members of our armed forces who are ready to serve and to fight. Does he share the concern of my constituents who are related to servicemen and servicewomen in the middle east, who are not at all happy with the standard of equipment and supplies being provided to them? We have a Defence Minister on the Front Bench today, and we need more assurances and more support for our servicemen and servicewomen.

§Sir Nicholas WintertonMay I say to the hon. Gentleman, for whom I have the very highest regard, as well as respect for the stand that he takes on matters relating to Northern Ireland, that this is not a matter that I would wish to comment on at this time? We want to ensure that the men and women among the troops of Her Majesty’s forces have the best possible equipment available. I know, from my own contact with members of the armed services who are currently in Kuwait, that they are ready to go and that they believe that they have the equipment and the support to enable them to do an excellent job.

The history that was so accurately sketched by the Prime Minister is right. We have had 17 resolutions since April 1991. The first, resolution 687, required Iraq to make a declaration within 15 days of the location and amounts of its weapons of mass destruction. It is now 4,380-plus days since that resolution, and we are a further 16 resolutions on. Saddam Hussein has made a mockery of the United Nations. If we are to take the United Nations 801seriously, and if it is to be an instrument for peace and stability in the world, its resolutions must be implemented and enforced. I congratulate the Government, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and the Secretary of State for Defence on what they are doing, not only in the national interest but in the international interest.

I would like to raise one issue that might be controversial. I am saddened by what I perceive to be the anti-American views that are being expressed. As someone who will shortly reach his 65th birthday, I believe that the world as a whole owes an immense debt to the United States for what it has done over more than 50 years for peace and stability in the world, and for the humanitarian aid that it has advanced. It has been wrong on occasions, but, my goodness, haven’t we all? Overall, I believe that the benefit that the United States and its successive Administrations have brought to the world have been immense, and they should be very proud of that.

I am delighted that the Foreign Secretary and the Prime Minister have highlighted the importance of achieving peace in the middle east, if at all possible. The road map is absolutely right. It is important that the state of Israel, within its 1967 boundaries, should be guaranteed by the international community, but it is also essential that the Palestinian people, who have suffered so greatly, should be given a meaningful, consolidated state. That would lead to stability in the middle east. If we remove Saddam Hussein in the next few days, as I hope will be the case, the chance of bringing peace to the region will be that much greater.

I have sent a petition to the Prime Minister carrying about 700 signatures from my Macclesfield constituents expressing their concern and their opposition to the war. I say to them, “On this issue, put your trust in the Prime Minister. I fervently believe, as your Member of Parliament, that he is right.” We will get it right; we will bring peace to the middle east, and we will restore the credibility of the United Nations.

§3.6 pm

§Mr. Bruce George (Walsall, South)This is the moment that we have all been dreading—the moment at which we have, individually and collectively, to decide on which side of the line in the sand we choose to stand. War is hell, as an American civil war general once said, but, for the Iraqis, the Iraqi Kurds, the Marsh Arabs, the Kuwaitis or the Iranians who have been the victims of Saddam Hussein, the so-called peace can be hellish, too. Any agonies of conscience that I had have been resolved, and I shall vote with the Prime Minister and the official Opposition this evening on many grounds. That is not to say that I do not have uncertainties and difficulties with the problems facing our armed forces, or with the consequences of our action. Of course I do. I shall certainly not argue that no mistakes have been made by the Americans or the British—little mistakes or bigger mistakes. Perhaps the biggest mistake was to misjudge France, Russia and, possibly, the Turkish Parliament. The biggest misjudgment of all, however, was surely Saddam’s, when he desperately hoped that the cavalry—or should I say the French cuirassiers, the German uhlans, hussars, lancers and dragoons, and the 802Russian imperial Cossacks—would ride to his assistance. It remains to be seen whether ‘Smith’s Fencibles’—or indefensibles—will succeed where they have failed, later this evening.

I believe that the strategy of the United States and the United Kingdom of combining military and diplomatic pressure could have worked, had it been backed up by the support of the United Nations. The combination would surely have been irresistible for Saddam Hussein, and he and his sons would have jumped on their camels and ridden off into the great unknown—probably somewhere in central Asia or even an expensive flat on the Champs Elysées. That never happened, however. It could have happened, and those who made it not happen must surely have a great deal on their conscience.

President Bush—incidentally, I am not standing for election as chair of the Walsall chapter of his fan club—has gone down the diplomatic route for a long time, and his speech last night showed that he is still prepared to do that, by giving Saddam Hussein one final chance. I support the Government because the Attorney-General said yesterday that there was a legal basis for the war. To those who have argued that UNMOVIC needed more time I say this: the inspectors’ work restarted in the spring of last year; the inspections recommenced on 27 November, and Dr. Blix told the Defence Committee three weeks ago—I refer to the notes that I and the Committee Clerk took at the meeting—that: The provisions of resolution 1284 could be fulfilled within a year if Iraq chose to co-operate”. A year! I do not think that that time is available. He went on to sayWithout co-operation, the inspectors’ task is endless. Surely what the Prime Minister said today was that the task of the inspectors and also the waiting period would be endless, and that that time had run out.

I doubt that the United States and the United Kingdom would wish their troops to endure the wait for any longer than necessary for the purpose of expecting Saddam Hussein to co-operate. He will duck and dive, and use anything to thwart the United Nations. Any enthusiasm that remained after 12 months of waiting would surely be dissipated.

We keep being told that the United States and the United Kingdom stand alone. In a letter in today’s Guardian, a lady wrote that perhaps only Spain and Portugal remained holiday venues for the Blairs. It should be said that Australia, the Netherlands, Denmark and almost all of eastern and central Europe support the Prime Minister, and provide wonderful holiday destinations. We could add North Korea, Japan, most of the Gulf—[Interruption.]

§Mr. GeorgeSouth Korea. That is the first thing on which I have agreed with the Liberal Democrats today. South Korea is a possible destination, because of the fear of North Korea, as is Japan, north and south. The 803cities of Bokhara and Samarkand in Uzbekistan are also available. Many countries are prepared to support the United States and the United Kingdom.

§Mr. Malcolm Savidge (Aberdeen, North)In which of the countries whose Governments support the action do the majority of the population support it, according to opinion polls?

§Mr. GeorgeThose who want to judge the results of opinion polls—which, up to now, have clearly shown opposition to the Prime Minister—should wait for the results of polls the day after war starts. The hon. Gentleman may have a rather different perspective then; indeed, I am sure that he will.

On Sunday, at a shop just down the road in my constituency, I met a close neighbour who told me that her son—whom I have known since he was seven—was in the Gulf. Afterwards, I wondered how I could have looked her in the eye and said, “It is true that your son is risking his life, but I want him to know that his cause is unjust, illegal and immoral, and that he may well be dragged before an international court”. I could certainly not have done that.

Those who cannot commit themselves to supporting the Prime Minister’s case may be persuaded by the argument used before that a military personnel in peril would need our support. A politically incorrect poet wrote this of the British Tommy: But it’s ‘Saviour of ‘is country’ when the guns begin to shoot. I suspect that when the guns begin to shoot, not just the Liberal Democrats but most people will be prepared to give their support. Similarly, I was opposed to any British involvement in the Falklands, but when all diplomatic initiatives failed I was prepared to support the Government of this country.

§Bob Russell (Colchester)What, then, is the right hon. Gentleman’s problem?

§Mr. GeorgeListening to inane interventions by people like the hon. Gentleman.

I endured the 1970s and the 1980s, when disunity in my party was the norm. I supported Wilson, Callaghan, even Michael Foot, Kinnock and Smith in the Lobbies. I do not think I am prepared to dump the Prime Minister at this moment of crisis.

3.15 pm

§Mr. Andrew Mackay (Bracknell)I agree with the right hon. Member for Walsall, South (Mr. George) to the extent that this is, indeed, a momentous debate. I entered Parliament 26 years ago this month, and I cannot remember a more serious debate or a time when the vote was more important.

This is also a very close call for many Members. Those of us who remember the Gulf war—I do, vividly, because I was Tom King’s Parliamentary Private Secretary when he was Secretary of State for Defence—and those of us who were out of the House, “resting”, during the Falklands war but watching very closely found the necessary decision very easy: a sovereign state had been invaded, and it was essential that we go to its rescue.

804More recently, I found it sensible and easy to support the Prime Minister in Kosovo and Sierra Leone. It was clear that a British intervention would be in the interests of peacekeeping, and in the interests of restoring democracy to those countries. Only 18 months ago, an overwhelming majority of us strongly supported the allies’ going into Afghanistan. I am sure it was the right decision to remove the Taliban regime, and to try and restore some order to that troubled country.

§Mr. Andrew Lansley (South Cambridgeshire)The right hon. Gentleman recalls the Gulf war of 1991. Does he also recall that although Kuwait and its allies—among whom we were numbered—had an inherent right to self-defence and required no additional authorisation from the United Nations, the United States and the United Kingdom then sought and received specific authorisation from the UN in resolution 678?

§Mr. MackayI shall come to that in a moment, but on that occasion we were not thwarted by a French veto.

On 16 April, I said this to the Minister: But what has happened in the past two, three, six or nine months that requires military intervention to be considered that had not happened before? We are not told what weapons of mass destruction he has now that he did not have then.”—[Official Report, 16 April 2002; Vol. 383, c. 506.] I had great doubts, which is why, like most of my constituents, I was delighted when, along with our American allies, we took the UN route with resolution 1441, while also strongly supporting the return of the weapons inspectors.

I think I speak for everyone in the House when I say we all hoped that through UN resolutions, through diplomacy and through the work of the weapons inspectors the crisis might be ended. Sadly, that has not happened. During that period my constituents, whose concerns I share, took the critical view that both the Prime Minister and the American President were not making a proper case for war. They were not helped by the unfortunate “dodgy dossier”, which I think caused huge harm to the credibility of the Government’s case. They were not helped by the suggestions of the American Administration, and at times our own Ministers, that for some time there have been direct and close links between the Saddam Hussein regime and al-Qaeda terrorists. That was clearly not true. There is never any point in exaggerating one’s case, because one will not be believed.

I listened carefully to what I thought was one of the Prime Minister’s outstanding speeches. I was convinced and satisfied that the case had now been made. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Macclesfield (Sir Nicholas Winterton), who expressed the hope that the full text of the speech would be given the widest circulation among the British public. I am confident that if it is, there will be a majority in favour of military action later this week.

It was also absolutely right for us and our American allies to send huge numbers of troops to the Gulf. I believe that only by that means—along with resolution 1441 and the presence of the weapons inspectors—could pressure be put on Saddam Hussein. At that point, however-here I return to the intervention from my hon. Friend the Member for South Cambridgeshire 805(Mr. Lansley)—we were sadly let down by our French colleagues: our French allies. I believe that their behaviour has been nothing short of disgraceful.

I am satisfied that many hon. Members—such as the Father of the House, the hon. Member for Halifax (Mrs. Mahon) and others—believe completely and honesty that it is wrong to go to war. However, I do not accept that President Chirac and his Government believe in the same way. They are acting for entirely false reasons.

§Sir Nicholas WintertonSelfish reasons.

§Mr. MackayTheir reasons are very selfish. They are acting for commercial gain, and for wider international and political gains. I shall take no lessons from a French President who breaks sanctions and invites the murderous Mugabe to Paris. I shall take no lessons from a French President and his defence Minister who threatened EU applicant states for merely supporting us and the Americans, and for signing a letter of support.

The behaviour of the French has been disgraceful. It ill befits a close ally and friend. I feel sorry for the French people today. I regret that the President was re-elected last year. I believe that he has done great harm to the international community.

In conclusion, every hon. Member faces a simple choice tonight. We must decide which course of action is more likely to bring peace and stability to the world and, in the short, medium and long term, ensure that fewer innocent lives, whether civilian or military, are lost.

I passionately believe that the whole international community would suffer if we and our American allies withdrew our troops from the Iraqi border without Saddam Hussein having complied with the UN resolutions that he has flouted. Every terrorist and tin-pot dictator around the world would be given a green light. The harm and damage that that would do, to us and to future generations, is incalculable. That is why I have reached the conclusion that the right thing to do tonight is to oppose the amendment and support the Government motion.

3.23 pm

§Joyce Quin (Gateshead, East and Washington, West)It is a privilege to speak in a debate that in some ways seems to have started last night, when my right hon. Friend the Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook) made his personal statement. I should like to pay a brief but deeply felt tribute to my right hon. Friend. I had the opportunity to work with him, in opposition when I was deputy in his team, and in government. He can look back on hugely significant achievements in all the roles that he has fulfilled in his time in the House of Commons.

It is a privilege to speak in the debate, but somewhat daunting. I find myself in the uncomfortable position of finding it very difficult to decide how to vote at the end of the debate. The arguments on each side are compelling. My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister made a very powerful speech. I acknowledge and welcome that he said that hon. Members faced a test not of loyalty, but of whether they were convinced by the 806arguments, and by the rightness of what he proposes. That is a comfort to those of us who are fiercely proud of our Government, and of all their many achievements to date.

When this matter was last debated, I voted with the Government. I felt that they were very vigorously pursuing the UN route. It the culmination of that process that troubles me this evening.

I supported the Government very strongly in relation to Afghanistan and Kosovo. I certainly believe that military action can be justified in certain circumstances, but the motion before the House troubles me in a number of ways. War is a last resort, to be begun only if it is absolutely essential. Despite my keen desire to see Saddam Hussein disarmed—and to see the end of him, if at all possible—I have to ask whether war is essential this week. Is it essential now?

Saddam Hussein has behaved despicably, it is true. As many speakers have noted, he has delayed disarmament over a period of 12 years. However, some progress has been made in the past 12 weeks, perhaps more than in the past 12 years. For that reason, I should like the inspection process to given an opportunity to produce results.

My right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary said, rightly, that dealing with Saddam Hussein was like drawing teeth. However, I think that some teeth are being drawn. For that reason, too, I believe that the inspection process should have some time in which to work—even if that time is of limited duration.

Two countries apart from our own have figured in the debate—the US and France. I want to draw a clear distinction between those countries and their peoples, for whom many will feel a huge affinity. In my case, I have ties of both family and friendship, but many people at present feel totally at odds politically with those countries’ Administrations.

I believe that the President of France behaved outrageously in throwing a mega-spanner into the UN works. That follows his equally outrageous statements on EU enlargement. However, I also believe that the American policy has many faults. At times, the Americans’ diplomacy has been atrocious, especially in the summer of last year. Then, they were brought back to the UN route only by the efforts of our own Government.

My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister said that if we did not support the US now, they would be tempted in future to go down the unilateral route. That worries me, as I do not want to feel intimidated into supporting action now on that basis.

I am worried by some elements of the Government’s case. The links between Iraq and al-Qaeda seem tenuous in the extreme. Although the proliferation issue is serious and important, the risk of proliferation is very often to be found more in states where there is very little control. That applies especially to states that used to belong to the former Soviet Union. I consider them a real risk in terms of proliferation at present.

In conclusion, I worry about the timing of this military action, given that weapons inspectors could still pursue their work and that alliance building could still occur. That is why, so far, I remain unconvinced.

8073.28 pm

§Malcolm Bruce (Gordon)I wished to pick up a point made by both the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition about the comparison between the situation we are now in and 1938 that seems to me utterly inappropriate. In the confrontation between the west, and other democracies, and Iraq, the similarity with 1938 has already happened. It happened when Iraq invaded Kuwait, when the House and my party supported military action to confront Saddam Hussein and secure Kuwait’s liberation. For the past 12 years, there has been an inconsistent policy towards Iraq, while that country got weaker and weaker and its capacity to inflict damage in the area reduced.

The sad situation that we have reached today is that the United Nations’ own agents tell us that they believe that they are making progress towards neutralising the situation. It would be possible to secure international agreement either to accept that we can secure peaceful disarmament through the operation of the weapons inspectors or to give support for military action if the weapons inspectors conclude—after they have been given the time for which they have asked—that they cannot complete the job. Most of us now believe that we are facing a premature and pre-emptive decision to embark on military action before the process has been concluded.

Many of us are also concerned about the possible consequences. We all hope that military action will be swift and clean, with minimal casualties. However, even if not a single life is lost, at the end of that venture—if it is undertaken in the way that is proposed this week—the international community will be fractured in a way that has not been witnessed since the end of the second world war. That is because the approach to dealing with the problem has been totally incoherent, partly because the US Administration decided at the outset what they would do and demonstrated no real commitment to persuading the international community of the merits of their case.

We have been confused about whether the US objective is regime change, the defeat of international terrorism or the elimination of weapons of mass destruction. Regardless of the legal advice—and I am not competent to comment on it—we can all recognise that the only legitimate reason for the United Nations to back action in the case of Iraq would be to deal with weapons of mass destruction. That position should have been sustained throughout. The President’s speech about the axis of evil and rogue states has raised many concerns about what will happen after Iraq, especially as the US attitude to the UN has been inconsistent.

At first, the US saw no real role for the UN, or any need for resolution 1441. Thanks to the British Government, resolution 1441 was achieved, with the clear understanding that a further resolution would be required. Then we were told that a second resolution was not needed, because resolution 1441 stood on its own. That leaves us with the United Kingdom divided, Europe divided, NATO divided and the UN divided. Many of us share a deep anxiety—and it grieves me to say so—that those divisions may be exactly the outcome that the Bush Administration wanted.

The US Administration appear to be motivated by a fundamentalist conviction about the rightness of their cause, the absoluteness of their power and their ability 808to confront the world and say, “We will decide who the good guys are, who the bad guys are and what course of action will be taken. Your job is to back us or make yourself our enemies.”

§Mr. BluntThe hon. Gentleman makes the point that that may be the desire of some people in the US Administration. If true, would they not have that in common with the French Government, who are seeking to push the US away from a transatlantic alliance?

§Malcolm BruceEverybody knows that the French have had their own view on transatlanticism for many years, and there is nothing new or unexpected about the position that they have adopted. Those of us with friends and relations in the US will understand the clear anxiety among the US population that they are vulnerable to attack in a way that they have never felt before and they look to their Government to demonstrate strong action to defend them against that attack. The problem is that that anxiety has encouraged a form of US nationalism that is determined to demonstrate that they can hit back hard after the shock of the terrorist attack on mainland America. Many of us were persuaded that that was legitimate in the case of Afghanistan, because the Taliban Administration was clearly harbouring the perpetrators of 11 September, and we backed that action. There is not the same connection in the case of Iraq. In those circumstances, we are entitled to argue that the case for military action has not been made.

Even if this war is quick, effective and decisive, and even if, as the right hon. Member for Walsall, South (Mr. George) claimed, opinion polls swing behind the Government because of a short, sharp, successful action—although such polls are not a concern of mine—the problems that I have described will still be there for a considerable time. How do we rebuild the ability of the international community to work together when the American Administration have demonstrated an unwillingness to use international institutions constructively?

With a number of colleagues from this House, I was in Athens yesterday at a meeting of the Western European Union. The meeting was organised by the Greek presidency of the WEU to discuss common mechanisms for Europe and America to defeat terrorism. However, everybody questioned how we could work together without a consistent engagement of trust and purpose with the American Administration, the tactics of which were based on economic bullying and political threats—such as the indication that, if France pursues its present line, it will face significant economic boycotts.

We have to consider how to rebuild the effectiveness of transatlantic co-operation in the aftermath of this war. We have to make clear our absolute determination to work together to defeat international terrorism, which threatens all of us. We need common purpose and we need to share intelligence. However, in return for a guarantee of international support, which we want to give, we are entitled to ask the Americans to acknowledge their responsibility to offer genuine leadership to the world and to show respect towards other democratic countries that do not always share the objectives of the United States and do not see the world as being defined entirely in terms of the economic 809interests of the United States. I respect the leadership role that the United States can and must give the world. However, if the United States is going to provide leadership for the world, the United States needs to provide a world leader.

3.37 pm

§Clive Efford (Eltham)I want to say how much I appreciated the opening comments of the Prime Minister. I welcome his respect for the views of all those who have strong feelings on this matter. When Parliament was recalled last September, I tabled an early-day motion making my position clear. I have not moved from that position one jot. This is a challenging time for Members of Parliament and we have a heavy task in front of us in this debate. However, I have never been clearer in my mind about my position. Many people in the country feel that the inspectors have not been given time to complete their task in dealing with weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I say to my right hon. Friends that, at this time, I fundamentally disagree with the military action that they intend to take.

Much has been made of the road map for Palestine. In the aftermath of 11 September, many people rushed to make statements on how the Palestinian issue and the middle east peace process were central to resolving the long-term problems at the heart of the cause of the tragedy that occurred, and the atrocities that were committed, that day. However, people are right to stop and take stock of what is being proposed with the road map. For me, it may not be too little, but it is certainly too late. The US may be sincere in what it says about the road map but, coming at this late stage, it smacks too much of political expediency. I have no doubt that pressure from this House has led to the road map at this late stage.

I understand something about road maps from my previous profession: the obvious route is not always the best way to get to one’s destination. I do not say that to trivialise the matter. I sincerely believe that this House still has a significant role to play in ensuring that we reach the destination that we all want in terms of the middle east peace process, but it is not just a question of the views of this House, and it never has been. It is about how people in the middle east view the west and how we pursue our foreign policies and about learning the lessons of 11 September. It is about our not continuing to be, through the way in which we pursue our foreign policies, recruiting agents for Osama bin Laden and other terrorist organisations. I say to the right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Hague) that it is not an attack on Saddam Hussein that will be the recruiting agent, but the double standards that have been applied in relation to the rush to deal with Saddam Hussein at this stage and the approach taken to resolution 242, which has sat on the table for 35 years and has not been dealt with.

After 11 September, many people made the case for dealing with the middle east peace process to secure the peace for the long term. We understand the importance of ending the occupation of Palestinian territories, ending the plight of Palestinian people in their own land and stopping settlements that are in direct breach of United Nations resolutions on Palestinian territory. If 810we are to develop a new world order, we have to address those issues in tandem with the issue of weapons of mass destruction.

§Mr. Mark Francois (Rayleigh)Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

§Clive EffordNot at this stage.

Much has been made of the use of the veto at the UN, but we are not all innocent in that respect. In the past 30 years, the United States has vetoed 34 resolutions concerning Israel. The veto has been used 250 times, in more than 40 per cent. of cases in relation to issues involving the middle east. Only this week, we have seen yet another attack in Gaza, where 10 people were killed, including a four-year-old child. Even in the days after 11 September, people were attacked and killed by Israeli forces in Jenin and Jericho. I have to ask whether that is the action of a country that recognises the weight of the issues involved in the tragedy that occurred on 11 September or its role in securing long-term peace. We need to find a way forward. How do we get those people to follow the route map set out by the United States and our Government? How do we convince Arab people of our sincerity? What guarantee is there that after this conflict is over the road map will not be lost?

The USA provides $2.1 billion of aid every year to Israel. Only last October, there was a request for another $10 billion of aid because the intifada has hit its economy and almost cut it in half. Just by threatening to cross a nought off the end of that aid, we could bring Israel seriously to the negotiating table and sort out the problem once and for all. We need more time and we need to deal with the issues in parallel. If we are to convince the wider world community of our sincerity, why not give the inspectors more time to deal with Iraq in tandem with sealing, progressing and following the route map that has been set out in terms of Israel?

The stakes involved are too high for failure. The UN is right to challenge the USA. For too long, the USA has been able to say to the United Nations, “Jump”, and the United Nations has said, “How high?” The UN is absolutely right in this new world order to question whether it should jump in terms of the timing of any action that should be taken. I do not support what France has done during the past week—its actions have hastened the deadline for war—nor do I support its attempt to create a European axis against the United States in a new world order.

The UN is ours, faults and all. It is the route by which we should decide that in future we will negotiate away these difficult situations without the need to resort to military action. The Prime Minister said in his opening statement that the UN should be the focus of diplomacy and of action. I agree. If we are to win the peace for my children and for future generations of children, we have to go back to the UN and give it more time.

3.44 pm

§Mr. Boris Johnson (Henley)I am very pleased to be called to speak in this debate at such an early hour. I believe that I have perhaps one small advantage over other Members of this House, which is that I have personal experience of being bombed by the Pentagon while in a capital city. I was in Belgrade, and then in 811Pristina, during the Kosovo campaign, when B-52s and cruise missiles were deployed in an operation conducted, after all, by the right hon. Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook), whose moving speech I listened to with great attention last night. Of course, that operation was carried out without UN endorsement. I remember writing some very angry articles while in Belgrade about the way in which that war was conducted, because I honestly hated the methods that were used. I despised the bombing from 30,000 ft, which seemed to me to be cruel and erratic. I also loathed some of the anti-Serb rhetoric, and I became, among the many unfashionable aspects of my beliefs, rather pro-Serb.

I saw lives ruined and families destroyed by bombing, and I saw civilians grieving for their loved ones, who had been killed by NATO. We all saw the results of the Pentagon’s tragic mistakes: the slaughter of people in a convoy of tractors, the train that was blown up on the bridge, and the killing of the make-up girls who worked for Serbian television. I in no way retract all my criticisms of those methods, but as I look back now on that reporting, I must admit that my anger obscured a separate truth: the aim was a good one, and it was a good idea to force Milosevic to stop his persecution of the Kosovar Albanians, and to do what we could to force him from office. One would have to be rather perverse not to agree that the world is better for his going; indeed, Serbia is better and the whole of the former Yugoslavia is better. There are no more hideous pogroms whipped up by ruthless politicians, setting one ethnic group against another. There is no more torching of houses, no more rape camps, and all the rest of it.

§Mrs. MahonDoes the hon. Gentleman agree that we should be even-handed and mention the 300,000 ethnically cleansed Serbs, Roma and Ashkali who are now living in dreadful camps in Serbia?

§Mr. JohnsonI accept fully what the hon. Lady says. I am not pretending that life in Serbia is perfect now, and it is of course true that there are a great many refugees, and that many injustices have been done. However, it would be rather extremist and irrational to say that life in Serbia is not better, because it is. As I drove around the former Yugoslavia after that conflict, I was surprised at how few casualties there were, and at how few casualties the Serbs claimed.

If one were to ask me now whether that mission was worth it in order to end a culture of violence, hate and savage ethnic murder, I would say yes, it probably was. That is the lesson that I learned.

§Lembit ÖpikThe hon. Gentleman is describing how he became sympathetic to the Serbs on account of the suffering that he saw. However, does he not accept that those are exactly the ingredients that can lead to a resurgence of terrorism, and that there are analogies between how he felt, and the paramilitary recruiting drive that took place in Northern Ireland immediately after Bloody Sunday?

§Mr. JohnsonI listen to the hon. Gentleman’s point with great interest, but to be frank, I wonder why his party now stands against action to help the people of Iraq, given that its previous leader, Paddy Ashdown, was so vigilant and fierce in his demands for 812humanitarian action on behalf of the Kosovar Albanians. I find that a very curious reflection on how times have changed for the Liberal Democrats, and I wonder whether it has anything to do with opportunism and how they see the public opinion polls moving. I do not really understand their motivation.

There is much that I admire about the former Leader of the House, the right hon. Member for Livingston. I noted with interest the acclaim with which he was greeted on the Government Back Benches last night, which may or may not be ominous for the Prime Minister. There was one striking omission from the right hon. Gentleman’s speech, however. He dwelt at length on the threat that Saddam might, or might not, pose to western security—I thought that he was too optimistic about that—but he said not a word about the condition of the people of Iraq. How many people has Saddam Hussein killed? Is it 100,000, 200,000—a million? We have all met Iraqi people who yearn for that man to be removed. I am thinking in particular of an Iraqi computer technician who said, “You guys have got to get rid of Saddam Hussein because no matter how many people Bush kills it will not be as many as Saddam kills in a year”.

The right hon. Member for Livingston spoke of a long-standing Anglo-American agenda to get rid of Saddam Hussein. Like many others, the right hon. Gentleman wanted to know “why now?” and “why Saddam Hussein?”. Such objections are logically frail and hardly amount to an argument for doing nothing now. If anything, they are an argument for wishing that we had done something earlier and, indeed, in other places. To people who ask, “What about Mugabe?”, I reply, “Indeed, why don’t we do something there?”

It is possible to criticise many aspects of the way in which the Government have prepared the country for the course of action that we are about to take. I shall not delay the House further with repetition of my objections to the dodgy dossier and the UN bungling. I do not know who made the diplomatic assessment of the likelihood of French accession to a second UN resolution but he obviously blundered.

We can dilate until the cows come home about what the situation means for the so-called common European security and defence policy, which has nothing in common, nothing to do with security and barely amounts to a policy. I shall not go further into the curious hermaphroditic policy of the Liberal Democrats.

We should all like a second UN resolution but that is not going to happen. Tonight, we have to decide whether to give authorisation for British forces to engage in enforcement of UN resolution 1441 and, indeed, the 17 other UN resolutions that Saddam Hussein has continually flouted. Having learned the lessons from what I saw in Serbia, I shall vote for the motion. There are several reasons but one is paramount. It will mean the enforcement of the will of the UN and the removal of Saddam Hussein will make the world a better place, but, above all, it will make the world better for the millions of Iraqis whom he oppresses.

813I deeply respect the hesitations of people on both sides of the House, but, as they make up their minds, I urge them to think of those people in Iraq and to decide whether, by our votes and actions tonight, we shall be prolonging their misery or bringing it to an end.

3.53 pm

§Mr. Clive Soley (Ealing, Acton and Shepherd’s Bush)There are two reasons why I supported the Government and shall continue to support them tonight: one is moral and the other is political.

The moral argument has been clear to me for a long time and it is constantly reinforced. Every time that a psychopathic killer takes over a nation state, they drive people out; they commit genocide, murder and torture of a type that is hard to imagine and, because I represent a west London constituency, I see their victims in my waiting room. I have seen the victims of the Shah of Iran, the Ayatollah, Milosevic and Saddam Hussein, but only in one case—Saddam Hussein—have I seen people tremble at the mere mention of his name.

The regime is gruesome in the extreme and it is dangerous. Although I can accept the moral case on either side of the argument, it has always struck me as odd that democratic, freedom-loving, tolerant politicians can get ourselves in a moral mess when we are confronted with such people and try to determine who is morally right in the argument about whether we should go to war. The only person who is morally bankrupt in that argument is Saddam Hussein. We should never have illusions about that, and it also reinforces our views about what is right and what is wrong.

I have also heard in the debate, unlike perhaps some of the others, ambivalence about the United States, varying from the right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Hague), who takes the view that the United States saved us in the second world war. I do not take that view—it ignores the contributions of Britain, the fact that the Russians broke the back of the German army and a whole range of other things—nor do I take the view, which comes from various quarters of the House, that somehow everything that the United States does is bad.

Yes, the reality is that the United States is the dominant power of the day and, yes, it is true—we ought to remember this more than anyone else—that George Bush looks increasingly like Lord Palmerston in drag. I accept that the United States is doing the great power act and throwing its weight around in the world, but that does not make it wrong on such an issue.

The true criticism of the international community, the United States and all hon. Members is that we have done nothing about what has been happening in Iraq since 1991. The real criticism of all us is that we did nothing when Iraq first started to breach not just the 1991 resolutions, but the ceasefire itself, which Saddam had never put into effect. That ceasefire was signed with the UN, not the United States, and he breached it time and again with genocide, torture, human rights abuses, 814weapons of mass destruction and terrorism—the lot— and we did nothing, because of which many people have died and the misery continues.

§Mr. Mike Wood (Batley and Spen)I am interested in the fact that my hon. Friend says that we have done nothing since 1991 in relation to Iraq. Does he count the sanctions, the over-flying of the no-fly zone, the work of the weapons inspectors who destroyed 95 per cent. of the weapons of mass destruction as nothing?

§Mr. SoleyI regard that as ineffectual. [Interruption.] Let me say why. The one bit that was effective was the no-fly zones. It tells us an awful lot that there is no starvation, no torture and plenty of medical supplies in either of those areas, and they use the same oil-for-food programme as that available to the rest of Iraq. Of course what failed was the sanctions regime itself. Why? Because Saddam Hussein did what all psychopaths do in such situations—he used the weapons against his opponents. He starved the people who did not support him and he fed the people who did. We need only look at the television broadcasts from the time when he organised demonstrations in Baghdad against the sanctions and, lo and behold, they involved well-fed, well-dressed people—his own supporters. Those broadcasts did not show the real misery and how Saddam himself had caused it.

I tell hon. Members that we really do have a duty—this is where I come to the political bit—to face up to the UN’s failure to deal with those people. We call them tyrants and dictators, but if they were the people beating up their wives or children in a house down the road, we would call them psychopaths and send for the police who would arrest them and put them inside. We only started doing that 50 years ago. Before then, we used to walk by with our fingers in our ears, saying “We cannot intervene; it is his own house, you know.” That is what we do with the nation state, and it is why the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) is wrong about the morality. His morality is based on the concept of the nation state. I take the view that the UN ultimately needs to intervene more effectively when those psychopathic killers take over nation states. We need to be able to do that. We do not want to do it by force with an armed invasion straight away, but we have to find ways to deal with such things because every time we leave them, not only do we sentence those people to absolute misery, but we destabilise the area.

Many Arabs live in my constituency, and I will tell hon. Members that Arabs have no less a commitment to democracy, freedom and tolerance than anyone else. They do not like Saddam Hussein. Many of them do not support the war, but they all want rid of him. The reality is that—this is the other part of the political equation—if we want a settlement in the middle east, particularly of the Palestine-Israel situation, we also have to deal with Saddam Hussein; the two are linked in that sense. If the world wants to move forward and face up to the problems of terrorism, we must also deal with states that produce weapons of mass destruction. Instead of just reading Dr. Blix’s abbreviated report to the Security Council, hon. Members should go to the House of Commons Library, get the full document, and look at the list of things that Dr. Blix says that Saddam Hussein 815has got, some of which I have never heard of before. Unless we find ways of dealing with that, we risk the future of this world, too.

§Lynne Jonesrose—

§Mr. SoleyThe dangers opening up to us are severe and real.

The United Nations is the hope, but it has failed for 12 years. We cannot let it go on failing. I deeply regret that we do not have a second resolution, but the biggest failure is the failure to act. I say this particularly to some of my hon. Friends and to the Liberal Democrats, who say that delays are the answer: the reality is that we cannot go on passing resolutions unless we are resolved to act on them. It is better not to pass them in the first place, not to take risks, to let it happen and not get involved. Let us not pass resolutions unless we are resolved to act.

§4.1 pm

§Sir Brian Mawhinney (North-West Cambridgeshire)I have a great deal of experience of commending my right hon. Friends the Members for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr. Duncan Smith) and for Richmond, Yorks (Mr. Hague) on the speeches that they have made as Leaders of Her Majesty’s Opposition. I have much less experience of commending the Prime Minister, but I do so today without reservation. I would use his statement as the basis for a reply to any letter that I got from a constituent, as I feel that it represented broadly my analysis of and my reaction to the events that we face today.

I will not reiterate the Prime Minister’s arguments, but I want to pick out two points. First, he said that the psychology of the United States changed, without qualification, on 11 September. I was on the last British Airways flight out of Boston prior to the hijacking of the planes that were used in the attacks. I was back in the United States two weeks later and have been there on a number of occasions subsequently. That psychological change is real, lasting and important. I agree with the Prime Minister that the rest of us had better go through that psychological change, and that we better do so quickly. The fact that so many have not yet faced up to those circumstances—God forbid that they should be forced to face up to them on the back of another atrocity such as that experienced by the Americans—and that Europe has not yet been gripped by that psychological change lies partly at the heart of the difficulties that we face.

Secondly, I want to highlight the Prime Minister’s comment that there is no point in willing the ends if we are not prepared to will the means. That remark was addressed to his party and to our party—it was pointless addressing it to the Liberals, as they would not understand it. It is fundamental to the whole debate. Sooner or later, we must face up to some realities. This is not a debate about how much legality is on one side, and how much morality is on the other. I am just a simple Belfast boy: to me, it is a question of whether we have the will to do what we believe and know to be right, after having prevaricated for a long time.

Most of us in this House are parents. When we went through parenting, the one thing that we were told repeatedly was, “Don’t say no to the children unless you 816mean it and unless you will make it stick.” That was because every time we said no and they ignored it, and we ignored their ignoring of it, we made it more difficult to put in place a discipline framework for the future. Internationally and nationally, we have been guilty of saying no, and then ignoring the ignoring of that instruction. It is now time to take action, and I support the Government’s intention.

Having said that, the Foreign Secretary made the point in his statement last night that the second resolution has never been needed legally, but we have long had a preference for it politically.We should not run away from the fact that our failure to secure it represents a political failure with which we must deal. When that point was put to the Foreign Secretary later, he said: France and Russia informally proposed that there should be a lock in resolution 1441 requiring that before any military action or any enforcement of the system of disarmament proposed—by force—there had to be a second resolution. France and Russia dropped that proposition. They never even put it forward as a formal amendment.”—[Official Report, 17 March 2003; Vol. 401, c. 703–708.] That was an extremely good answer in the field of diplomacy, but it was no answer in the field of politics. We are faced with the fact that there has been a political failure and a political breakdown. The Government must start to address that political failure quickly otherwise some of the more dire consequences that have been predicted may come back to haunt us, although I do not believe that they invariably follow from the Government’s action.

There are two reasons why we need to reaffirm our will to act and focus on repairing the political damage. The first is that unless the damage is repaired, it will become more difficult to get new resolutions on humanitarian aid and the restructuring of Iraq through the United Nations. The situation might become more protracted, which is not to our advantage or to that of our troops, and it is certainly not to the advantage of the people of Iraq. The second reason, which my hon. Friend the Member for Henley (Mr. Johnson) mentioned, is that part of the political opposition in the country to the Government’s proposals exists because they have not talked about an exit strategy. The House has no idea about how we intend to get out of the situation after the war is over. I believe that the absence of any conversation about an exit strategy is fuelling concern about, and antipathy toward, the actions that the Government must take.

In summary, I support what the Government are doing and I shall join them in the Lobby this evening. However, I urge them to take seriously the political failure at the heart of the issue and to take steps quickly to address it for the benefit of the national interest, as well as the people of Iraq.

§4.9 pm

§Mr. Malcolm Savidge (Aberdeen, North)There is only one issue that we must consider today: whether we should go to war at this time and set what is, to me, the terrible precedent of starting a pre-emptive war on a dubious legal basis without the support of the United Nations. Nothing else should matter. The issue should 817transcend party politics. We know how the Front Benchers, Whips and others will argue that support for the war is a vital party loyalty test—whether that is support for the Conservative party or for the Labour party—but the issue is too serious for that. It should transcend our careers, whether we are Back Benchers or Front Benchers, because in this context we should regard ourselves as here today, gone tomorrow politicians. I do not remember the Prime Minister’s exact words, but he summed it up when he said something to the effect that we are talking about the future safety of the world and therefore we should be concerned about the future of our children and future generations.

It is not a matter of whether or not we like France as a result of what it has done. It is not a matter of trade-offs: this will not become a just war simply because we say as a trade-off that we will do something about the middle east peace process or that we will tidy up in the aftermath in a very decent way.

Let us be clear about the position on UN support. The three original proposers had support from only one other member of the Security Council. Five other states said that they were opposed and there were six swing states. The Prime Minister made a lot of the position of Chile, but it proposed a delay of three weeks and was turned down out of hand by the United States. There are others who have been “unreasonable”. Those of us who put a lot of faith in the Prime Minister’s promise that war would be regarded as a last resort fear that the Bush Administration have not regarded war as a last resort.

The question put to the Prime Minister by the hon. Member for Banff and Buchan (Mr. Salmond) in respect of the unreasonable veto was not satisfactorily answered. If it was really just a question of France, why did we not put the issue to the Security Council? If the vote had been 14 to one in favour, we could have done what we did with regard to Korea and gone to the General Assembly and asked whether we had its support. We know that we would not have done that because we did not have the support of the majority of Governments in the world, and those Governments who do support us do not have the support of the majority of their population.

The UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has suggested that if we go ahead in this form we will be breaching the United Nations charter. I respect the Attorney-General’s view on legality, but we must respect the fact that a wide range of senior international jurists take a different view. Therefore, the only basis on which we could go ahead would be if there was an immediate threat to justify immediate war.

Reference has been made to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq does not only not have nuclear weapons, but, in answer to the point made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Newport, East (Alan Howarth), Dr. el-Baradei has said that so far he sees no evidence for the suggestion that Iraq has restarted its nuclear weapons programme. Iraq has had most of its biological and chemical weapons—if it still has them, and I suspect it has—for several years. Do we believe 818that there is an immediate intent to attack the United Kingdom, the United States, neighbouring states or other states?

§Mr. FrancoisDoes the hon. Gentleman accept that Iraq had an active nuclear weapons programme in the early 1980s and that the main reason that it did not develop the nuclear bomb was that its nuclear reactor at Osirak was destroyed by military action?

§Mr. SavidgeI accept that it had such a programme and I have no doubt that Saddam would like to develop a nuclear bomb, but it is important to be realistic about the nature of the threats from different countries.

§Mike GapesMy hon. Friend refers to weapons of mass destruction. Has he read page 98 of the Blix report, which makes it clear that Iraq currently possesses the technology and materials, including fermenters, bacterial growth and seed stock, to enable it to produce anthrax”?

§Mr. SavidgeThat is very possible. The major threat that is suggested is not that Iraq intends to attack anyone with such weapons but that it would pass them to terrorist organisations. I have already quoted what George Tennet said on behalf of the CIA on that, and I repeat that it is important when talking about what connections countries have with terrorism to distinguish between unconditional terrorist organisations, which would be liable to wish to use weapons of mass destruction, and political terrorist organisations, which, however unpleasant or vile, probably would not have a purpose in doing so. I am talking about groups such as the Mujaheddin-e Khalq Organisation and Hamas, with which I accept that there is evidence that Iraq has had connections. As for al-Qaeda, my right hon. Friend the Member for Newport, East referred to evidence given by Vaclav Havel; in fact, Vaclav Havel later said that the information provided no clear evidence of a connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam Hussein.

The Prime Minister said today that the question before us is how Britain and the world face the central security threat of the 21st century. I believe that he was referring to weapons of mass destruction, which brings us to an extremely important point. The general belief in the House has been that we should deal with that problem through a regime of non-proliferation and multilateral disarmament. That has been the common view of UK parties. That does not rule out the possibility of a counter-proliferation strike against a country that is disobeying that regime. However, we have to recognise that the Bush Administration are adopting a wholly different scheme, whereby counter-proliferation, as they call it, takes absolute precedence. In a sense, they are saying, “It is okay if our friends develop nuclear weapons, but not if our enemies do,” and they choose who are the friends and who are the enemies. Let us remember that Iraq was regarded as a friend and was supplied during the 1980s, but is now regarded as an enemy. I find that approach capricious and destabilising.

Even more worrying is that the policy of the Bush Administration seems to be tending towards saying, “We can develop new nuclear weapons or try to make nuclear weapons more usable, and we can decide to 819breach the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and the security assurance that we gave under that treaty.” That is a serious aspect of the overall problem of weapons of mass destruction, especially when it is added to the doctrine of pre-emptive war.

I have heard the Prime Minister speak twice today, and I apologise for not being able to remember whether he said this at a meeting of the parliamentary Labour party or in the House, but it is not an internal party matter in any case. He made the point that war on Iraq was not on his agenda when he became Prime Minister in 1997, and he said that George W. Bush had told him that two days before 11 September it was not on his agenda. However, I fear that, long before 11 September, it was on other people’s agenda—namely, that of several of the hawks whom George Bush appointed to his Administration. Some time ago, I sent hon. Members an e-mail entitled “Why Now?”, which outlined some of the different things that they had said and gave original documents that one can get from various websites.

That raises another question. If war with Iraq was not on the Prime Minister’s or the President’s agenda in 2001, can we forget that it was not on their agenda for 10 years and say that we have been waiting for 12 years? If full-scale war was not on the agenda, why is it on the agenda now? Is it a logical response to 11 September?

The Prime Minister said that we can view the United States as a major power and seek a rival pole, as a unilateral power or as a partner. I want partnership, but I have doubts. I am not happy about partnership if it means that the United States takes the decision and the rest of us are expected to follow—that to me is not partnership—or if, as seems to be happening, the Bush Administration decide what action should be taken and what should be done immediately, and allow us to supply some of the rhetoric or some of the long-term wish list.

If we vote for a pre-emptive war against Iraq now, we should ask ourselves what precedent we will be setting, because the hawks have already said that they have plans for other pre-emptive divisive wars. We should contrast their plan of the world with the inspirational vision set out by the Prime Minister in Brighton in 2001, when he spoke of the moral power of a world acting as a community”.

4.19 pm

§Mr. Alex Salmond (Banff and Buchan)I know that the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North (Mr. Savidge) has been waiting to make that speech in a number of debates. He used his time extremely well; it was a very informed contribution. I shall continue directly from one of the points that he made about the new world order into which we are moving.

Fundamentally, the debate is not about Iraq, Saddam Hussein, weapons of mass destruction or even oil, though oil is certainly a factor. The debate is about a new world order, with an unrivalled superpower adopting a doctrine of pre-emptive strike, and how we accommodate that and come to terms with that new world order. Eighteen months ago the United States had an atrocity committed against it and it is still in a trauma. The point was made a few minutes ago, and it is undoubtedly correct: on 12 September 2001, the day after the attack on the twin towers, the United States 820was at its most powerful. In its moment of greatest extremity, the United States was at its zenith. In addition to its unrivalled military might, it carried total moral authority throughout the world. A hundred or more nations signed messages of sympathy, support or solidarity with the extremity that the United States had suffered.

Now, 18 months later, that enormous world coalition has been dissipated. I do not take the position that it was only a gang of four who gathered in the Azores. I accept that there are more countries—or at least countries’ Governments—who are signed up, but the coalition of the willing for the campaign against Iraq is very narrowly based. Anyone who wants confirmation of that should just count the troops: 300,000 United States and British troops, and I understand that 1,000 Australians have been asked for, and 100 Poles have been offered. That is a very narrowly based coalition indeed.

The Prime Minister believes, as the hon. Member for Aberdeen, North identified, that the way to accommodate the situation is to accept that the United States will be predominant and that the rest must fall into line. They can try to restrain it, but they will have to fall into line with the views of the United States Administration. That is a wrong-headed policy, and it is taking people into ridiculous positions.

In his undoubtedly powerful speech today, the Prime Minister argued that the weapons inspection process had never worked. He came close to saying that it had all been a waste of time. I remember a speech on 2 October at the Labour conference in which another powerful speaker went into enormous detail to show how successful the weapons inspection process had been in the 1990s and how it had led to the destruction of chemical weapons, the chemicals used to make weapons, the armed warheads and the biological weapons facility. He concluded that the inspections were working even when he”— Saddam Hussein— was trying to thwart them. I watched that speech on television. Many hon. Members were there. The speaker was President Bill Clinton. The television was doing cutaways to Ministers, including the Prime Minister. They were all nodding vigorously last October when President Clinton said that through the 1990s that policy worked and destroyed far more weapons of mass destruction than were destroyed, for example, in the Gulf war. The Prime Minister now seems to be denying what he accepted only last October.

We are told that the majority of the Security Council would have voted for the second resolution, if it had not been for the nasty French coming in at the last minute and scuppering the whole process. Let us get real. Have we listened to what other countries were saying? The Chileans proposed an extension of three weeks, but they were told by the United States that that was not on. In the debate in the General Assembly, country after country expressed their anxieties about not letting the weapons inspectors have a chance to do their work. They were told that the nasty French—I am not sure whether the Conservative party dislikes the French 821more than the Liberals, or vice versa—were being extremely unreasonable, but the French position, and the Chinese position—

§Mr. Andrew Robathan (Blaby)The old alliance.

§Mr. SalmondThe old alliance was important. Somebody should speak up for the French, because their position has been consistent, as has that of the Russians and the Chinese. The Chinese, the French and the Russians issued a declaration on the passage of resolution 1441. It sets out exactly how the British and the United States ambassadors agreed that it was not a trigger for war. The reason that those countries did not want a second resolution was not that it would be a pathway to peace—I wonder who dreamed that up in Downing street. The reason was that they saw it as a passport to war, so obviously they opposed a resolution drawn in those terms. The majority of smaller countries in the Security Council and the General Assembly countries did not want to rush to war because they saw that there remained an alternative to taking military action at this stage of the inspection process.

We are told that the Attorney-General has described the war as legal. We could go into the legalities and quote professor after professor who has said the opposite, but one thing is certain: when the Secretary-General of the United Nations doubts the authorisation of military action without a second resolution, people can say many things about that action, but they cannot say that it is being taken in the name of the United Nations.

§Mr. LlwydI am grateful to my hon. Friend for giving way. I wish to make one brief point: the French and Russians signed up to resolution 1441 after the words “all necessary means” were specifically taken out.

§Mr. SalmondIn order to become acceptable, resolution 1441 had to be amended. Everything has been consistent in the opposition of countries that are against a rush to military action.

Will the approach that is being taken work? The argument is that it will be a salutary lesson, that a dictator will be taught a lesson and that that will help us in dealing with other dictators. I suspect that the cost of the action—I do not doubt the military outcome for a second—will be so high in a number of ways that it will not provide a platform for an assault on North Korea or Iran, which form the rest of the “axis of evil”. I do not think that the policy of teaching one dictator a lesson and then moving on to other dictators can work. Most of us know that it will be a breeding ground for a future generation of terrorists. That is not the case because people like Saddam Hussein. The images that will be shown throughout the Muslim world will not feature him, although, without any question, he will be more attractive as a martyr when he is dead than he has ever been while alive. The images that will be shown are those of the innocents who will undoubtedly die in a conflict that will be a breeding ground for terrorism.

Will the nation-building work? The record of the United States on nation-building has not been impressive. Let me say something about one of the other 822countries that is being reviled at present—Germany, which commits far more troops as a percentage of its armed forces to helping to secure the peace in the various trouble spots of the world for the United Nations.

We are told that the Prime Minister—this is the essence of his case—will try to restrain some elements in the United States Administration and make them take a multilateral approach, but that, if that does not happen, when push comes to shove he has to go along with their policy. I say that there is a broader United States of America than the United States Government. I believe that many sections of opinion in America would welcome a vote from this Parliament today that says “Not in our name”, because the real America wants to see a stand for peace, not a rush for war.

4.27 pm

§Mr. Barry Gardiner (Brent, North)After my right hon. Friend the Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook) made his personal statement to the House last night, I felt it necessary to drive back to my constituency and speak with a number of people whose opinions I trust and value—people who are close friends and who have been members of the Labour party for many years. Not one of them wanted war, and neither do I. My constituency chair said to me, “Barry, you have to remember that this is our party leader and I trust him. He is our Prime Minister and, even though I disagree with the war, I want to give him our support now.” I will not support the Prime Minister out of loyalty. I will support him out of the conviction that what he and the Government are doing is right.

§Mr. Peter Ainsworth (East Surrey)Does not the hon. Gentleman understand that a genuine problem exists? The Government have experienced great difficulty in convincing the public about the rectitude of their position because people do not trust the Prime Minister. They do not trust him on health, education or crime. Why, therefore, should they trust him on Iraq?

§Mr. GardinerI normally have great respect for the hon. Gentleman because he usually speaks with some sense. His comments on Iraq are ill judged. The people of this country know that our Prime Minister has behaved with absolute integrity on that issue. He has campaigned solidly for an international coalition. He went to the United States and brought George Bush to the United Nations to submit the power of the United States to the bridle of the United Nations. The people of this country therefore trust the Prime Minister on Iraq.

§Mr. Andrew TurnerDoes the hon. Gentleman accept that the Prime Minister has experienced so much difficulty in persuading the people of this country because he did not even admit that there was a problem until September last year? He did not genuinely start to try to persuade people until six weeks ago.

§Mr. GardinerThe hon. Gentleman is wrong. The speech that the Prime Minister made on the day after 11 September 2001 states that we must revisit the position in Iraq. He has been focused on that ever since he became Prime Minister. Immediately after 11 September, he recognised a confluence. He realised that 823terrorists were prepared to use weapons of mass destruction to achieve their ends and that if we allowed proliferation in Iraq, the two strands would come together, with the most appalling consequences.

I respect all hon. Members who disagree in principle with using military force in Iraq. However, I do not understand how anyone who supported resolution 1441 can espouse that position. What did such people believe that “final” meant when Iraq was given a “final opportunity” to comply: “final” before tabling another resolution; “final” before a few more weeks passed; or “final” before a few more months elapsed?

§Mr. Simon ThomasI hope that I can help the hon. Gentleman. As John Negroponte, the US ambassador to the UN explained, the resolution was final before being brought back to the Security Council for negotiation. The US Government also said that in a statement of explanation.

§Mr. GardinerThe hon. Gentleman’s memory is selective. Resolution 1441 provides that the matter would revert to the Security Council for consideration, and that has happened. The resolution states that the Security Council will remain “seized of the matter”. The hon. Gentleman’s interpretation of “final” is odd if he believes that a final opportunity is not final before force is applied, in accordance with chapter VII of the UN charter.

Other words in resolution 1441 include “immediate”, “full” and “unconditional”. Are any hon. Members prepared to stand up and say that Iraq has complied—

§Mr. SarwarWill my hon. Friend give way?

§Mr. GardinerAre any hon. Members prepared to say—[HON. MEMBERS: “Give way.”] I shall. Is anyone prepared to say that Iraq has complied fully, immediately and unconditionally with its obligations to disarm?

§Mr. SarwarWho is the final authority to judge whether Iraq is in breach of resolution 1441: United Nations weapons inspectors, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the UN Security Council, Bush or our Prime Minister?

§Mr. GardinerI would urge my hon. Friend to read the words of the chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, because he—[HoN. MEMBERS: “Answer!”] If hon. Members will listen, they will find that I am answering the question. Hans Blix is quite clear that Iraq remains in breach. Indeed, every member of the Security Council is quite clear that Saddam Hussein remains in breach, and that there has been no full, immediate or unconditional compliance. There is an option to go down the containment route, and some hon. Members have suggested that in their speeches today. It is not an option that I agree with. I believe that we have to maintain what we said at the United Nations Security Council in resolution 1441, which was that we have to disarm Iraq.

There are those who have said that they cannot now support military action because there has been no second resolution in the United Nations. That is the 824worst reason of all for not supporting it. If it were right to engage in military action, to kill innocent Iraqi people and to put our troops on the line to die for this country with the support of a second resolution at the United Nations, it has to be morally right to do so without one. The morality of our actions does not depend on who is prepared to carry out those actions with us; it depends on the judgment that we make about whether it is right or wrong. The Government are taking the right course of action. It is the only course of action that will achieve the disarmament of Iraq, and disarmament is the only way of ensuring that a further, far more bloody conflict does not happen in the future.

4.37 pm

§Sir George Young (North-West Hampshire)I plan to reach the same destination as the hon. Member for Brent, North (Mr. Gardiner), but I propose to take a slightly different route.

We are witnessing the most spectacular failure of diplomacy in my political lifetime. Here we are with the most sophisticated, best-resourced international institutions that the world has ever seen, peopled by the most civilised, best-educated diplomats in history, assisted by every modern communication device that technology can provide, and working at a time when many of the barriers that used to divide the world have come down—yet they have failed, with the inevitable apocalyptic consequences for Iraq.

First, those close to Iraq—those who may take a different view from that of the United States and the United Kingdom—have totally failed to convince Saddam that his country and his people were going to be hit hard by American and British troops, and that he would be annihilated, unless he agreed to what was being put before him. Many thought that Saddam would give way at the last moment, obliging the American and British troops to go home and leave him in control, without a regime change. But those close to Saddam, geographically and culturally, have failed to bring home to him the fate that lies in store, and that is the first diplomatic failure.

The second failure is more important. The world’s democracies have failed to get their act together to present a coherent and united front to an obnoxious regime. It is that institutional failure, rather than the underlying case against Saddam, that has led to the equivocal response from public opinion.

We will need to revisit the whole architecture of international institutional peacekeeping, and re-engineer it radically to avoid future failure. I do not give that as a reason for going to war, but I happen to believe it will be easier to make the reforms that are necessary once the Iraq crisis has been resolved, than to do so with the crisis hanging over the United Nations indefinitely.

I believe there was a need for greater clarity at the inception of the resolution process, a need for more visible and better-defined milestones as we went along, and for greater certainty about the nature of the consequences if there was no progress. The traditional skills of diplomacy involve getting people to agree to something by persuading them that it means what they want it to mean, and saying that there is no harm in “signing up” because the eventuality is remote. All that has come horribly unstuck. There has been too much ambiguity and obfuscation in the process.

825The public squabbling about what resolution 1441 actually means baffles our constituents, as do discussions on “Newsnight” and “Today” between expensive barristers about whether the war is legal. I believe that if the process had been more open and transparent—if there had been more clarity—we would be receiving a more supportive response from our constituents, because the underlying case is strong.

That, however, is for tomorrow. What should we do today? I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Bracknell (Mr. Mackay) that the decision is close to call. I believe that, in a nutshell, the debate concerns the credibility of the United Nations on the one hand, and its unity on the other. The Prime Minister’s view is that unless firm action is taken now, the UN’s credibility will be fatally undermined. The alternative view is that moving too fast will shatter the unity of the UN, thus fatally undermining it.

With the benefit of hindsight, we may think it might have been possible for the United States and the United Kingdom to go a little more slowly, not to give Saddam more time, but to give the rest of the world more time. That is not possible now, though. The unity of the UN is no longer there—which makes it more important to assert its credibility.

When we last debated this issue I had some sympathy with the amendment that had been tabled, but I did not support it, for this reason: the best prospect for peace at that time was convincing Saddam that we were prepared to go to war. It seemed to me that the more people voted for the amendment, the more Saddam would get a picture of a country that was not prepared to go to war. Voting for the amendment ran the risk of encouraging Saddam to call the bluff. Having looked at the amendment tabled today, I feel that anyone who genuinely believes that the case for war has not been established should vote against the war. The amendment seeks to square a circle that is incapable of being squared.

Whatever the doubts and reservations about the process that brought us here, here we are. My constituency, like others, has a high military profile. Many of my voters are sitting on the hot yellow sand in Kuwait, wondering whether they will see the cool green fields of Hampshire again. I believe that they and their families are entitled to know that their Member of Parliament backs the risks they run in removing an obnoxious regime, and I shall therefore support the Government tonight.

4.43 pm

§Mr. Stephen McCabe (Birmingham, Hall Green)We have reached the time of day when we have already heard many speeches, and I am not sure that I can add anything dramatically new.

Like many ordinary Members of Parliament, however, I have wrestled with this issue for several months. I did not start with the view that we should necessarily take military action in Iraq. Naturally, I have spent a good deal of time listening to the criticisms of those who are worried about the prospect of war. It has occurred to me that there have been a number of recurring themes in the arguments of those who believe 826that we should not go to war. Obviously, nothing I say will have any impact on those who are already implacably opposed to war, but over the past few days many colleagues have told me that they are not sure about it, because they feel that the issue is very finely balanced. I wondered which matters people were not certain about. I regularly hear that the case regarding weapons of mass destruction has not been made. Some people are certain that Saddam Hussein has none at all, and others say that he has neither the capability nor the capacity to use them.

How did we end up in this position? We must assume either that my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister is misleading the House whenever he comes to the Dispatch Box to talk about his fear of those weapons of mass destruction and about the intelligence reports that he has been reviewing, or that the intelligence community is deliberately misinforming him. We must draw those conclusions if we say that the story about WMD is utterly wrong. Moreover, whenever there is a report from a respected journalist that a scientist has been assassinated or detained because he has knowledge of the weapons programme, we must believe that that journalist is seeking to mislead us.

Last week, my hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd) arranged for representatives of the INDICT organisation to come to the House. They gave a graphic description of the people held in Saddam Hussein’s detention centres. After those people have been subjected to every sort of torture and humiliation, they are then gassed with mustard gas. Where does all that mustard gas come from, if all that sort of stuff has been degraded or destroyed? We cannot assume that there are no WMD in Iraq. The inspectors’ reports repeatedly indicate that there are.

We do not know with any certainty the extent to which WMD exist, but anyone who believes that Saddam Hussein has no such weapons, and no viable chemical or biological weapons, should not vote for the amendment tonight. I agree with the right hon. Member for North-West Hampshire (Sir George Young): anyone who honestly believes that Saddam Hussein has no weapons of that variety should vote straightforwardly against the Government motion. In those circumstances, it would be absurd to vote for the amendment.

People have been preoccupied by the question of the additional UN resolution. I have been troubled by the way in which that resolution has been regarded. For weeks, there has been a systematic effort from certain quarters to convince people that any such resolution would have been irrelevant anyway, as it would have been secured by buying people off, or by arm twisting. No hon. Members who are party to the view that the resolution would have been worthless anyway have a right to come to the House and say that they will not vote for the motion because that resolution was not secured.

I happen to be one of those who believe that the Government were right to try to secure a second resolution. I commend the efforts of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister to go the full distance to try and achieve that, but it would be absurd to put to the vote a resolution that has effectively been blown out of 827the water already. There is no getting away from the fact that that was the consequence of the French President’s behaviour.

We have therefore been left without a second resolution and, as a result, Saddam has been given a further advantage. We might have been able to say today that we were all at one about how to deal with the man, but we find ourselves sidetracked into dealing with the question of the resolution. The second resolution in itself is important only if we disregard everything that went before, but the reality is that there have been umpteen resolutions in the past 12 years. For a full year, the House has had virtually no other topic for debate than the question of what we should do about Saddam.

Some hon. Members say that they would have supported the Government under other circumstances, but that the lack of a second resolution—a resolution which, a couple of weeks ago, the same people were calling dubious—has made the decision for them. With all due respect to the people involved, that is an extremely hard case to believe.

The other question that I have pondered is why the situation is suddenly different now. I read the amendment with interest, but it is the “Groundhog Day” scenario. It says that, despite everything that has happened, we want to go back to the beginning and start again. The amendment is saying, “Well, we think that Saddam might have some weapons and the UN might be well advised to take some action against him, but we think that the Prime Minister should start all over again and see whether he can get another resolution. If he gets a resolution this time, however, we think it should give Saddam an unspecified period of time.” The amendment calls it a “defined period”, but that could mean three days, 30 days or 30 years. Those who support the amendment think that we should start again, allow everything that has already happened to happen again and then, if we are no further forward, consider military action.

I am no fan of the prospect of military action, but the time has come to draw a line if we are to justify what we have said. The talking must end and we must show that our intent is real. Any other course of action diminishes everything that has happened.

Many people have raised the legitimate point that there are two issues that we cannot walk away from. If we resort to military action—

4.52 pm

§Mr. John Randall (Uxbridge)It is pleasure to speak in such a full Chamber. My normal lot is to speak when the Chamber is almost empty, which is probably a good thing. I am afraid that when the gift of making good speeches was handed out I must have been somewhere else, but I shall try to explain why I intend to vote for the amendment tonight. I shall do so with a heavy heart, and the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition nearly persuaded me to vote with them. Unfortunately, the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Inverness, West (Mr. Kennedy) nearly persuaded me not to vote with him.

There are many reasons for my decision and I cannot give them all. One of the principal reasons is the action in Yugoslavia, which I opposed. Although I understand the reasons given by other hon. Members—notably my 828hon. Friend the Member for Henley (Mr. Johnson)—I find it disturbing that that action has been portrayed recently in debate as a great victory and success. Anybody who knows the current situation in Kosovo will realise that we certainly have not finished what we started. It is one of my great worries that the same will happen in Iraq.

Enough has been said in some excellent speeches, but I have lost my faith in what happens in war because in the past the truth has been blatantly abused by our propagandists. I do not seek to make a party political point, but I thought that our Government were above that. If we want to keep the faith and trust of other countries, we must not try to hide the truth. Military considerations aside, we must try to tell the truth.

This is a difficult decision. Although I would normally say that the Whips are a fine body of men and women, and it is usually a good idea to do exactly what they say, on this occasion I suggest to all hon. Members that it is best to make up their own minds. Those who are voting with the Government are not warmongers; those of us who are voting for the amendment are not appeasers. Everyone has their own opinions and it is very difficult to come down on one side of the fence.

America is not a villain. I would like to count myself as a friend of America. However, as all good friends should, we sometimes have to speak out and tell our friends that they are doing something that they should perhaps think twice about. All I mean by that is that they should just hold back a little longer. I can understand that the military build-up is like water behind a dam. We cannot keep it there forever. That is why I think that what is going to happen is inevitable.

I was brought up to believe in serving my country. I also believe in doing my duty. My duty is first and foremost to my country, then to my constituency, and then to my party. However, one of the things that I have always been frightened of in the Whips Office is when people listen to the arguments. Listening to the arguments today has been a salutary lesson. Another expression that we have in the Whips Office is, “I’m afraid I’m all over the place.”

Many of my constituents from RAF Uxbridge are already in the Gulf, and many others will soon join them. The last thing that I want is for them to feel that I am undermining them. If the amendment falls, I shall seriously consider the political and moral gymnastics of whether I can support the Government. I am not sure at this stage whether I can do that, but I can promise my constituents out there that I wish them well. Once I have said my piece, I shall shut up and let them get on with their job. I hope—I have never hoped this so much in my life—that I am wrong about some of the possible consequences. I will be the first to admit that, if I am wrong, I shall be delighted.

Hon. MembersHear, hear.

4.57 pm

§Donald Anderson (Swansea, East)There was a quiet eloquence about the hon. Gentleman in spite of his disclaimer. What I liked about his speech was his considerable respect for those on both sides of the argument and his readiness to express honest doubt. I have felt little respect for those who have total confidence in either side of the argument. There are 829many high risks and many uncertainties, and many questions that have not been answered—indeed, there are some questions that cannot, as yet, be answered. However, we are not a university debating society and we are not a seminar of professors. We have to make decisions. People will make decisions, exercising their judgment as best they can.

We are faced with this problem as we seek to come to a decision: should we now stand down our troops, and should we fundamentally change our strategy? In theory, we could indeed fold our tents and glide away, forgetting about the fact that there are men and women representing our country on the borders of Kuwait and Iraq. We have chosen to be engaged. In my judgment, we made a correct strategic decision way back last summer. We remain engaged with our US allies. To withdraw at this stage would be unthinkable. To suggest that we could was the essential flaw in the argument of my right hon. Friend the Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook) last night. His speech was highly compelling. Moreover, he has, in a short time, made a major and positive impact on the procedures of the House and on the House generally. The fact is, however, that we cannot easily now turn back without undermining our own credibility and the authority of the United Nations. The wording of 1441 was clear. One does not need any special knowledge to know that “immediate” should mean immediate and that “unconditional” should mean unconditional. Only in an Alice in Wonderland world do words mean what I say they mean: elsewhere, the word “immediate” must surely mean immediate. After four and a half months, Dr. el-Baradei said clearly that there would have to be a dramatic change on the part of Saddam Hussein if there was to be compliance. Given Saddam Hussein’s record, one would need faith in a Damascene conversion to imagine that such a dramatic change was likely to happen. It was reasonable to assume that the words meant what they said. If we backtrack now, no future Security Council resolutions will have any credibility. We can make all sorts of pious declarations but a giant leap will be required if there is not the will to enforce them.

I turn to the role of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. He promised in good faith to pursue the diplomatic path, and he has indeed gone the extra mile, as many of us demanded. The Prime Minister undertook to make possible a debate in this House before action. That was wholly unprecedented and wholly against all the practices and conventions of our constitution. I applaud his having done so; it is a major victory for Parliament. The Prime Minister stated clearly that he wished to act in conformity with international law—of course, there are weighty lawyers on both sides, but the opinion of the Attorney-General is very clear on this point; not one Member of this House could have tried harder than the Prime Minister to continue negotiations to avoid war; not one Member could have shown more commitment or more courage.

§Ms Diane Abbott (Hackney, North and Stoke Newington)Will my right hon. Friend give way?

§Donald AndersonYes, as long as I have injury time.

§Ms AbbottMy right hon. Friend said that the opinion of the Attorney-General could not be clearer, 830but in fact the Attorney-General’s advice rests on a 10-year-old UN resolution. It is not as clear as my right hon. Friend thinks.

§Donald AndersonPerhaps my hon. Friend should see a lawyer. I have confidence in the Attorney-General. He chaired the Bar Council, he has his reputation among his fellow lawyers to maintain, and he is a man of stout independence. I urge my hon. Friend to look carefully at the conclusions that he reached.

Our Prime Minister made a strategic decision to stand alongside the United States on the basis that it would give him influence—it certainly has given him influence in terms of the UN route and of the middle east peace process—and on the basis that Saddam Hussein, given his past conduct, only responds to pressure with the credible threat of force. I am confident that that was the correct decision at the time. We could not have foreseen that the UN route could lead to the current impasse. One or two hon. Members have spoken of a spectacular failure of diplomacy, but all the advice available to our Government—not only from our diplomats but from conversations with leading members—was that there was a likelihood that 1441 would be obeyed.

The US has many vocal critics—I have frequently raised my concerns about its unilateralist policies in other areas—but the blame for the collapse of the diplomatic process lies with the wilful obstruction of the French Government, who said in terms: Quelles que soient les circonstances la France votera non”. The French is clear: whatever the circumstances, France will vote no. There is nothing clearer than that. The French ruled out negotiations on the proposals put forward by the UK Government even before the Iraqis did. That approach, which has led to a crisis in the international organisations and put at risk the transatlantic alliance, is based essentially on a Gaullist view of the world—the idea that Europe can be an effective rival or counterweight to the megapower of the United States. France has played into the hands of Saddam Hussein by blocking the UN route. Do we seriously expect Saddam Hussein to make concessions and to co-operate with the weapons inspectors now that the pressure has been taken off him—or would have been taken off him if the French had had their way? In short, France has dealt a mortal blow to any hopes of a peaceful, negotiated outcome.

I recognise the uncertainties and the high risks, and I share many of my colleagues’ suspicions about the unilateralism of the US Administration. However, I am confident that the French position can only encourage that unilateralism, while our policy will help to keep the US engaged internationally, and will ensure our national influence for the good. Despite all the uncertainties and anxieties, I fully supported the Prime Minister when he lined up with the President to disarm Saddam Hussein voluntarily, or by force. That was done for the best motives, and on the basis of a correct analysis at the time, and it has had significant results. Disarmament is now impossible through the preferred route, so serious consequences are now imminent and inevitable. In my judgment, if we prevaricate, we lose credibility. To uphold the UN’s credibility, we should hold our course. I shall support the Government tonight.


§5.6 pm

§Mr. Michael Moore (Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale)We could be at war in days, if not hours, and in meeting here today, we have perhaps one last chance to reflect on that fact. The Prime Minister has set out a powerful case. We can all understand his commitment and applaud his efforts; unfortunately, we cannot support his conclusions. Many of today’s contributions have reflected the passions and concerns surrounding this issue. The House will, of course, unite on one key issue: that Saddam Hussein is an evil tyrant who should not be in possession of weapons of mass destruction: he must be disarmed. The fault line in the debate is about how we do that. We take him on because he ignores international law, and in so doing we must respect the principles of international law, in whose name we act. War must be a last resort.

We believe that the military build-up was the right thing to do. Saddam and his regime have undoubtedly had their minds focused, but an important distinction surely exists between a credible threat of force, and the certain use of force. We must not go to war simply because the forces have turned up and are ready to roll. Resolution 1441 contained no automaticity. It was, of course, a significant achievement, and all the more powerful because it was unanimous. It did indeed talk about a “further material breach”, a “final opportunity”, and “serious consequences”. We are all familiar with the litany; indeed, the Foreign Secretary can quote it unsighted, and has firm views on its meaning.

However, there is one part of resolution 1441, in paragraph 12, that often gets overlooked. It states that the Security Council Decides to convene immediately upon receipt of a report in accordance with paragraphs 4 or 11 … in order to consider the situation and the need for full compliance”. In weighing up the best way to tackle Saddam, it is the Security Council as a whole that must judge the course of action to take. The Government’s efforts in recent days to persuade Security Council members about their course of action shows that they recognise this truth; however, their arguments have not prevailed. The core of 1441 is about the weapons inspectors. Doctors Blix and el-Baradei have made progress. The US and UK Governments may not be persuaded, but that does not alter the position. Dr. Blix said recently that the time allowed “is a little short”. He also said that he needed not years, not weeks, but months”. The process set out in 1441 is not exhausted; alternatives to war have barely been explored. In the past few days, we have seen diplomacy laid bare, considered discussion subverted by shouting matches, and force of argument now replaced by force of arms. It has been ugly, but the downward spiral of international debate must not distract us from the underlying truths of the situation. The Governments of the USA and the UK have not won the arguments; not simply because a majority in the international community believe that the weapons inspectors should continue their work but, just as significantly, because there is disagreement about the war objectives—disarmament only, or regime change. There is also concern about the consequences of action, which could be horrific and extremely serious, whether in humanitarian terms in the middle east region or832through a spur to international terrorism. All those issues weigh heavily on us and they should tip the argument towards continuing with the UN route.

We are not yet at war, but in all likelihood our armed forces will be engaged in military conflict in the next few days. Our thoughts are with them and their families. As the cross-party amendment notes, in the event that hostilities commence, we pledge total support for the British forces. We express admiration for their courage, skill and devotion to duty, and hope that their tasks will be swiftly concluded with minimal casualties on all sides.

We still have a final moment for reflection. Late last week, President Bush issued a plea. He said:Let us move beyond entrenched positions and make moves for peace. He was talking about the middle east peace process, but his words also apply to Iraq. We should still be working through the United Nations. We have not yet exhausted all the diplomatic and political alternatives.

We should not be going to war.

5.11 pm

§Tony Worthington (Clydebank and Milngavie)I shall talk about only one aspect of this issue: the humanitarian consequences of the action of my Government and the United States in going to war on Iraq.

In this debate we have been obsessed, as we have been for many months, with the wickedness of Saddam Hussein. There have been countless words of vilification, but for my constituents they were hardly necessary; they are fully aware of his behaviour. What bothers my constituents—it is one of the reasons why the Prime Minister fails to persuade them of the rightness of his approach—is that little or no attention is being paid to the consequences of the action that we are about to take.

If damaging consequences are set loose by our actions, we must take the morality of that into account. If, as we are likely to do, we take action that strongly increases the probability of the use of weapons of mass destruction, we must question whether such a policy is wise or moral. If we take action that involves the use of our own weapons of mass destruction in a horrific onslaught against the people of Iraq, that, too, has to be put on the moral scales. Half the people whom we are going to kill are children. None of the people whom we are going to kill had any say in the imposition of Saddam Hussein as their tyrant. We must take that into account.

We are going to invade a country of Balkanesque complexity where occupying forces will be unable easily to withdraw. We are rapidly in danger of becoming piggy in the middle for every discontented ethnic or religious group in the area. There seems little doubt of speedy, initial victory, but it is worth remembering that the six-day war in the middle east is still going strong after 35 years. This war has similar potential.

It is currently not easy to get countries to volunteer for armed service in Afghanistan. Which countries will have troops of the right quality to assist the Americans and us? Have we faced up to being an army of occupation?

833Above all, we are being led by an American President who is completely honest about what his Administration intend to do with the world. I have recently been reading Bob Woodward’s book, “Bush at War”—on his first war in Afghanistan—which is a real love story. Bob Woodward says of Bush: His vision clearly includes a radical reordering of the world through pre-emptive and, if necessary, unilateral action.”  We have not just to look at the history, as we keep doing, but to think through the consequences.

I have been concerned by the lack of reporting to the House on the humanitarian consequences of an invasion. When I backed the Government in going down the UN route, the intention was certainly not that we would just debate and vote in the Security Council and then the Iraq issue would be simply handed over to General Tommy Franks. Obviously, the conduct of the war has to be done by the military, but what happens alongside and afterwards must be an UN operation.

The Government have been very remiss in reporting on what the operation will involve. The only people who have been clear about what will happen are the Americans, and they did so most clearly five to six weeks ago in a report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by Douglas Feith, the Under Secretary of Defence.

The Pentagon would be in control. I quote: US post war responsibilities will not be easy to fulfil and the US by no means wishes to tackle them alone. We shall encourage contributions and participation from coalition partners, non-governmental organisations, the UN and other international organisations and others. Another quote: The coalition officials”— that is us—responsible for post-conflict administration of Iraq—whether military or civilian, from the various agencies of governments, will report to the President through General Tom Franks and the Secretary of Defense. That is simply not acceptable as a way of administering a country that has been invaded. That is not conjecture; it is a statement of policy by the American Government. The expectation is that the Americans, not the UN, would have the lead role and that foreign Governments and organisations would report to the United States President. That had been planned without reference to the Secretary-General of the UN or any UN organisation.

Stories are now going around that, in fact, the Prime Minister has negotiated the lead role for the UN under a new UN resolution that will be proposed. I am puzzled by that story because it is not in the motion and it was not in the Prime Minister’s speech.[Interruption.]It is not in the motion. If hon. Members read the motion, they will see that it does not refer to a UN-controlled mandate post-conflict. If that is there, it is very welcome. If it is true—this story is going around as well—that Kofi Annan will be in charge of the oil-for-food programme, that is a big step forward, but perhaps the Minister would tell us in his winding-up speech exactly what has been negotiated with George Bush to make the situation much more acceptable when the conflict is over, rather than what is in the motion at present. I would very much welcome that.

834We have to consider the scale of the humanitarian problem. Iraq is a huge country, the size of France. We have to think about feeding 26 million people instantly. That has to be done by the UN, not by the Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance after the election. No one has paid any attention to that very important issue, but I hope that the Minister will be able to make it absolutely clear in his winding-up speech whether the UN or the American generals will be in control after the election.

5.19 pm

§Mr. John Baron (Billericay)It is my belief—I say this with a heavy heart—that war at this moment is wrong for a number of reasons. First, war should always be the measure of last resort, when all other approaches have been exhausted and are futile. Indeed, war can be justified only if there is no other possibility. As we stand today, however, that is not the case. The threat of force is yielding some results. UN inspectors want more time and are finally making some progress, slow though it may be, and no one can dispute that.

Many who advocate war point out correctly that Iraq has had 12 years to disarm but has not done so, and cite that as a reason to go to war now. However, many of those years were wasted by the international community. To resort to war now, having made some progress during the last 12 to 13 weeks of the present policy, makes little sense.

§Dr. Julian Lewis (New Forest, East)Does my hon. Friend accept, however, that it is not the inspectors’ job to go on doing what they have been doing over the last few weeks in acting as detectives? If they are to perform their task properly, they need to be actively shown where the forbidden weapons are, and they are not being shown where they are.

§Mr. BaronI accept my hon. Friend’s point, but he must accept that the UN inspectors’ reports request extra time because they believe that some progress is being made and there are tentative signs that the regime may be changing its view. An extra 45 days, or a couple of months, would determine whether that was true. Time would tell.

To wage war now makes little sense when all the other possible approaches and measures have not been exhausted. Waging war is the ultimate act of politicians, yet such an act recognises the futility of their endeavours. Until we know that all other avenues have been exhausted, our consciences cannot be at ease. What is to be lost by giving the UN inspectors what they want: a few more months to see whether the task can be completed? Do we seriously believe that Iraq’s biological and chemical weapons, in whatever state and quantity, pose such an immediate threat to the US, the UK or Iraq’s neighbours that if we do not act this week or this month, we put our citizens at serious risk? I do not believe so.

Iraq’s army is a shadow of its 1991 standing. Iraq is probably the most watched-over country in the world at present. It would riot pose any more of an immediate threat to our citizens during this period than it has done over the past 12 years. The prize for being patient, however, could be great: we would have a much greater chance of the UN speaking with at least a moral majority, if not one voice, on this issue.

835That leads me to my second concern, which is for the UN. For whatever reasons, it is clear that the UN does not believe war to be justified, and will not vote for it. Unlike the action in relation to Kosovo, we cannot even get a moral majority for this action. The UN imposed the sanctions, and, on this issue, the UN should decide whether war is a necessity. By taking unilateral action, the US and the UK have undermined the organisation, which saddens me greatly. Having served with the UN, I have seen the tremendous potential for good that it possesses. It is not perfect, and blame can be laid at its door over the last 12 years, but it is the best that we have got, and could do much more if we put our minds to it. At a time when the UN should come together as never before to fight global terrorism and other threats after 11 September, it is being undermined by this action. The credibility that the international community will require when dealing with rogue states and terrorist organisations will be that much harder to muster.

Since the second world war, the threat of force, deterrence and containment have been successful policies, during the cold war and when dealing with rogue states such as Libya. The broad unity that has made that possible is at risk of fracturing, and that could be a serious consequence of this action.

§Mr. George Osborne (Tatton)Will my hon. Friend give way?

§Mr. BaronI will not. I must make progress or I will run out of time.

We have debated the broad legality of the action long and hard, and I accept that, if one puts several lawyers in a room, one will probably not receive only one answer. Resolution 1441, for which I voted, clearly implies that war is possible, but only if other means have been exhausted. I thought that it was passed in that spirit and, as we all know, the American ambassador to the UN was at pains to emphasise at the time that there were no hidden trigger points for war in the resolution. However, we have been told that the resolution is sufficient justification for war in its own right. If that is the case, certain questions must be answered.

Why did the US and UK try to secure a second resolution if not to provide legal cover for war? Why has Kofi Annan cast doubt over the legality of war without a second resolution? Why does a growing body of opinion, both at home and abroad, question whether resolution 1441 is sufficient justification for war? The countries that signed up to 1441 believed that it could justify war only if there were no alternatives. We all agree that Iraq has a revolting regime—there can be little doubt about that—but that is insufficient justification to go to war.

Insufficient thought has been given to the consequences of the action and urgent questions must again be answered. Who and what will replace Saddam Hussein? What plans exist for humanitarian relief? We know little about that. What effect will the action have on the stability of neighbouring states? My right hon. Friend the shadow Foreign Secretary has consistently asked those questions but the Government have failed to answer them, broadly speaking. Any plans have not been assisted by the fact that the USA has cited different objectives at different times: regime change, links with 836al-Qaeda, weapons of mass destruction and morality. We need to be clear about the objectives when taking such important decisions.

I wish to address the view expressed in some quarters that we are some how letting our troops down by questioning our policy here and now. It is only right that we question the policy given that we are probably about to go to war. I am sure that I speak for everyone in the House when I say that we will wholeheartedly support our troops if and when they are sent to war. They deserve our fullest support and I know that they will not fail us, although we may have failed to address the issue adequately.

War now is not the right action. I have no doubt about the result of the conflict because the combined military power of the US and the UK will ensure a quick military victory. However, an easy victory does not make the war right. I am not anti-American—quite the opposite, I have great respect for America—but that is not the issue. Good friends need to point out where policy is going wrong.

The UN can only be weakened by unilateral action by certain members at a time when it clearly does not believe that action is justified, despite all the talk over the weekend in the Azores. That is why I cannot support the Government’s action and I shall vote for the amendment.

5.28 pm

§Mr. Brian Sedgemore (Hackney, South and Shoreditch)We have just heard a courageous speech, although I am not sure how well it will go down with warlike taxi drivers from Billericay.

It is customary on these occasions to wish our forces well when they carry out the thankless task that we ask them to do in our name. In my capacity as the civilian president of 444 Squadron, Shoreditch—I proudly wear its tie today—I hope against hope that all our airmen and women, soldiers and sailors will return home safely from the war. I also hope that men, women and children in Iraq will be safe. With apologies to Churchill, I hope that this will not signal the end, or even the beginning of the end, for our Prime Minister. However, my gut instinct tells me that he will face almost insurmountable problems because of the position that he has taken. The scale of his misjudgment on this issue is enormous.

Who would have thought that the actions of a Labour Prime Minister would have given rise to the biggest demonstration in our history against his own Government? Who would have thought that his actions would give rise to the biggest parliamentary Back-Bench rebellion in modern political history? How did he manage to poison the idea of European unity? The attempts to make France the scapegoat for the miserable failure of British diplomacy have demeaned both our Foreign Secretary—I regret to say that—and our Prime Minister. Listening to some of today’s debate, one would think that there is such an anti-French feeling that people have started to read the editorials in The Sun. It will be a long time before the civilised citizens of our continent forgive them.

How came it that our Prime Minister allowed a road map for peace to become a road map for war, thereby sowing deep division in the United Nations? Did he really think that the United States Government could 837bully and bribe all the nations of the UN to acquiesce in armed conflict? It is sad that, both as a politician and as a lawyer, the Prime Minister should have forsaken the ideal of a tolerant and liberal \internationalism in favour of the frightening concept that might is right.

We are supposed to admire the Prime Minister because he is a man without doubts and one shorn of scepticism—two of the greatest qualities that the British people have. He just knows that he is right and is therefore prepared to ignore the advice of virtually all the leaders of the great religions in the world, including the Pope and our own archbishop. I find that approach rather frightening.

Worse than all that, the Prime Minister shows himself to be oblivious of and careless towards the shrewd moral judgment of the majority of the British people. No, we do not govern by opinion poll and focus groups, but in a modern democracy we need something stronger to hold on to than the slogan, “My Prime Minister, right or wrong.”

In this catastrophe the Prime Minister, a self-avowed admirer of Baroness Thatcher, has ignored the principal lesson of her demise. He should know, as the rest of us do, that when arrogance turns to hubris, come-uppance is never far behind.

§Geraint Davies (Croydon, Central)Will my hon. Friend give way.

§Mr. SedgemoreNo, I will not give way.

The public find much of the background to this war difficult to comprehend. So do I. Shortly after Saddam Hussein did use chemical weapons of mass destruction against his own people, I sought to go to Iraq with my hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd) and a chemical weapons expert to find out just what had happened. I do not remember any of us being given any support, either by the then Government or by the then Opposition. The heroic efforts of my hon. Friend, for whom I have unstinting admiration, to help the Iraqi Kurds, were met with her dismissal by the Prime Minister on the advice of the then Labour Chief Whip. I find that appalling.

More recently, my hon. Friend has been thwarted by the Attorney-General in her attempts, as an alternative t o war, to indict Saddam Hussein and his henchmen for crimes against humanity. The Attorney-General’s response, as my hon. Friend told the House in withering terms, was woeful. His legal opinion, which I have seen myself, was scorned by experts.

So now it is to be war on the basis of another bad legal opinion by the Attorney-General. I have it here in my pocket. I do not want to be rude to the Attorney-General, but he is a commercial lawyer who, frankly, seems to be out of his depth when trying to deal with this problem. Let us not forget too—I apologise to my learned Friends for this—that the law is a marketplace and if one shops around, one can always get some poor soul to give the opinion that one wants.

Of course there are laws, domestic and international, and they should be adhered to, but it takes people of clarity and understanding at the top to enable systems to work fairly and properly. In my view, we lack such 838people at the moment. History frequently tells us that tragedies are rarely as bad as they seem at the time they occur; ominously, however, it sometimes tells us that they are worse. I suspect that the latter will prove to be the case this time. In the end, politics, like most other things in life, is about trust. Sadly, I do not trust some of the people who are leading us in this issue, so they cannot rely on my support tonight.

5.35 pm

§Mr. John Maples (Stratford-on-Avon)That was fairly indigestible. The hon. Member for Hackney, South and Shoreditch (Mr. Sedgemore) indulged his usual understatement, but apparently one can safely make that sort of speech from inside the Cabinet as well as outside.

I shall pick up the point about legality and spend a few minutes examining it. Seventeen United Nations Security council resolutions and the opinion of the Attorney-General are enough for me—although apparently not for some people—and I cannot see how one more resolution can make moral something that is otherwise immoral. However, to examine the issue strictly in terms of legality, the opinion of the Attorney-General seems to me powerful and well argued. No doubt, as the hon. Gentleman said, if one got a different lawyer, one would get a different opinion. I note that the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament commissioned an opinion from a QC and got an opinion that was precisely the opposite of the Attorney-General’s. How surprising. There is no point in paying one of those expensive people if they are not going to say what one wants to hear.

I wish to explore the views of many of those who are rebelling against the Government over Iraq but were perfectly content with the action that the Government took in Kosovo. We did not get even one United Nations Security Council resolution for Kosovo. We relied on a doctrine of so-called humanitarian intervention that almost certainly does not exist—certainly the point had to be stretched. The United States may be stretching the concept of pre-emptive self-defence if it uses that as an argument for intervening in Iraq, but at least that doctrine exists, unlike the doctrine of humanitarian intervention. What we did in Kosovo was illegal.

A great many Labour Members and some Conservative Members seem to have problems with what the Government are doing now, when there is a strong case that the action is legal, even if the case is not watertight. In Kosovo, the action was clearly illegal. There were three major debates in the House on that action, and no one voted against it, even though they could have forced votes on the Adjournment. There was nothing like the plethora of activity that we are seeing now. One cannot help wondering what prejudices this policy on Iraq has tickled.

The leader of the war party at the time of Kosovo, the right hon. Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook), who spoke yesterday—I told him that I would refer in this debate to what he said—is now apparently the leader of the peace party. At the time, he argued strongly for the intervention in Kosovo on what I consider were powerful and compelling moral grounds. There was indeed a strong moral case for intervening, but there was 839not a legal case for doing so. Are we now saying that Milosevic was a bigger threat to international peace and security than Saddam Hussein, or that Milosevic was committing worse breaches of human rights than Saddam Hussein? Milosevic did not have weapons of mass destruction; Saddam Hussein almost certainly did.

Those who wrap themselves in principle and say that on this occasion they are behaving out of principle, as the right hon. Gentleman does, at least owe us consistency. If people base their views on foreign policy on principle and morality and they are inconsistent, one is entitled to ask about their sincerity. Those who will oppose the Government tonight out of their principles cannot have been acting on the same principles when they supported the Government on Kosovo.

§Mr. SavidgeIn the Balkans, Milosevic had started a series of wars in the recent past, and Kosovo was just one more, whereas Saddam Hussein, evil though he is, has been contained for more than a decade.

§Mr. MaplesI do not want get sidetracked into the history of the Balkans, as we could be there for a very long time. All I will say is that our intervention in Kosovo was an intervention in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. Kosovo was part of Serbia. The then Foreign Secretary engineered a conference at Fontainebleau at which Milosevic was presented with a wholly unacceptable set of terms and conditions, which was then used as a pretext for starting a war. We intervened in the internal affairs of another sovereign state, without any legal basis for that action. I do not argue that there was no moral basis; there certainly was, and in that respect the intervention was successful, but nobody could argue that it was legal.

§Mr. Tony Banks (West Ham)Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

§Mr. MaplesNo, I have taken an intervention on that point and I want to pursue my own argument.

We must understand that the world has changed since 11 September. If we do not think that it has changed for us, we must understand that it has changed for the United States. Things that were previously acceptable as nuisances or pinpricks no longer are. We must also accept that only the United States will sort out the problems. We will not do it; the French will not do it. If we and the French could talk to each other, we could not do it together. We are going to rely on the United States to do it.

The idea that our foreign policy can be carried out legally and morally only if it is the subject of a United Nations Security Council resolution is a dreadful hostage to fortune. It gives any of the five permanent members of the Security Council a veto over what we decide to do.

On my second point, I turn to what will happen or not happen tonight. I have read the amendment with more than 100 signatures against it. Presumably, rather more hon. Members will vote for it. The case could have been made until two or three weeks ago, but do those hon. Members really think that it is sensible, at this late stage in the day, to try to defeat the Government on the matter? Let us consider what the consequences would he if the Government were defeated.

840If, on the verge of battle, with our troops and their command structure integrated into an alliance with the United States, playing vital small parts in that military effort, they were withdrawn, that would destroy the credibility of British foreign and security policy for a generation. Just reflect what happened at Suez. It took 26 years, till the Falklands war, for the credibility of British foreign policy to be reasserted. If we withdraw—

§Jeremy CorbynWill the hon. Gentleman give way?

§Mr. MaplesNo. I am in the middle of making my main point.

If we withdrew our support for the alliance at this late stage, we would destroy the credibility of our foreign policy for a generation. We would damage immensely, if not terminally, our alliance with the United States. We would damage our relations with a great many countries in Europe that support the stance that the Government have taken, and I venture to say that we would never be trusted again while most of us are in the House, and probably long beyond.

I believe that the Prime Minister’s actions will be vindicated. Even if one disagrees with what he is doing, the time has come to stop criticising and undermining him and to let him get on with the job. The best that most of the rest of us can do is hope and, dare I say, pray that the conflict will be short and that very few people will be killed.

5.42 pm

§Hugh Bayley (City of York)In July last year the Prime Minister took the decision to work through the United Nations. He was the first person to call for UN weapons inspectors to be readmitted to Iraq. France was not calling for that, nor was Germany, nor was the peace movement and CND, nor was the United States, so it was a major achievement to gain unanimous support in November for resolution 1441.

I deeply regret the divisions on the Security Council that have opened up since then. Those divisions, as I said earlier, have had the effect of disarming the United Nations, rather than disarming Iraq. On 24 February France, Germany and Russia submitted a memorandum to the Security Council that stated: The unity of the Security Council must be preserved. So why the talk of a veto? Why not negotiation with other members of the Security Council? Why not compromise on a defined period for disarmament to be followed by military action, as was proposed by our Government?

I wanted to see a second resolution carried in the Security Council before UK troops were committed to military action, but unfortunately the opportunity for that debate has been taken away by the French decision to wield its veto. I do not agree with the French or German view that if we give Saddam Hussein a little more time, he will change his mind and disarm, but I respect the German position when they say that they will not participate in military action. I would respect the French position if they said the same, but I cannot accept that France, Russia or China have a right to use their veto to prevent others from enforcing UN resolutions.

841In the absence of the second resolution that I wanted to see, I simply ask two questions. First, has Saddam complied and disarmed? The answer is no. Secondly, does it matter? As far as I am concerned, the answer is yes. Given that we, the Americans and others have built up forces in the region, we now face only two alternatives—to commit those troops in the very near future to military enforcement of the UN resolutions or to pull them out of the theatre. If we pull them out, Iraq will immediately end what limited compliance it has shown with the UN’s requirements. We cannot keep those forces on stand-by in tents in the desert and bobbing up and down in ships on Indian ocean for a further 120 days, as the French proposed. Every Member of this House knows that. Indeed, France knew that when it put forward its 120-day proposal.

I detest the prospect of war every bit as much as the many constituents who have written to me opposing it, but I do not believe that we can ignore the threat that Iraq poses to neighbouring states, the gross violation of the human rights of the Iraqi people or the risk that the Iraqi regime will at some point in future supply chemical or biological agents to terrorists who might use them in this country or elsewhere in Europe.

I am deeply concerned about the humanitarian consequences of war. There is an urgent need to ensure that responsibility for distributing food under the oil-for-food programme is transferred from the Iraqi authorities to the United Nations and that there is adequate funding to ensure that that happens, because 60 per cent. of Iraq’s population depends on that food aid. We need to ensure that neighbouring countries open their borders to refugees and that refugee camps have water, sanitation and health facilities. As my hon. Friend the Member for Clydebank and Milngavie (Tony Worthington) said, we need to ensure that the UN runs the post-war reconstruction of Iraq. Without UN leadership, many donor countries simply will not make the contributions that will be necessary to rebuild Iraq.

I am pleased that our Prime Minister has put Palestine on to the agenda. There cannot be peace in the middle east without the creation of a Palestinian state and security for the state of Israel. Members of this House cannot ignore the fact that security for the state of Israel will be impossible as long as Saddam in Iraq is providing funding and support to the families of suicide bombers.

Finally, and importantly, I pay tribute to the almost 600 men and women of 2 Signal Regiment from my city, York, who are currently on active service in the Gulf. We in this House do not face the dangers that they face and we in this country are fortunate to have brave and professional soldiers in the British Army, and our other servicemen and women. They are deeply respected for their professionalism throughout the world and my thoughts are with them now.

5.48 pm

§Mr. Jonathan Sayeed (Mid-Bedfordshire)Securing the approval of the United Nations has become the rallying cry for some who oppose military action in Iraq. For them, no war without a second UN resolution has actually meant no war at all in any circumstances and 842whatever the provocation. That evasion is deliberate. However, the United Nations cannot absolve us from exercising our own critical or moral judgment. Although UN approval is useful in garnering international support, a democratic sovereign nation state has the right to defend itself from external aggression, even if the UN or its Security Council has not given its blessing.

The judgments that we must make today are whether our country is right to go to war, and, if so, whether it is necessary to go to war now. Anyone who, like me, has voluntarily joined Her Majesty’s regular armed forces is unlikely to support the “no war ever” brigade. No one who believes that a major war would probably be initiated by a nation where power was concentrated in the hands of the evil, the insane or the bigoted dictator can be in any doubt that Saddam Hussein poses a potential threat.

I have no doubt that Europe owes its freedom, and that some of its people owe their very existence, to the people and Governments of the United States. We owe that great nation a debt that too many in Europe ignore. Despite all that, I believe that the case for a war now has not been made. Too little has been done to put irresistible pressure on Saddam Hussein to effect the changes that our safety demands.

Any threat has two components: the available weapons and the likelihood of their use. In the past, the Iraqi regime has manufactured chemical, biological and probably nerve agents. They are weapons not of war but of terror, of which Saddam Hussein must undoubtedly be deprived. However, the Government have not demonstrated that they are easily available for use now. Neither have they shown that, contrary to all Saddam’s previous actions, Iraq intends to threaten us with their use. I asked the Prime Minister on 12 February what new threat, proven threat or imminent threat is there to justify war?”—[Official Report, 12 February 2003; Vol. 399, c. 860.]The question remains unanswered.

We were first told that war was necessary as the Iraqi regime had a history of supporting al-Qaeda. Undoubtedly the regime has supported terrorism, and so have Syria, Iran and Libya. But al-Qaeda? Hardly. A godless, ruthless dictator with a history of oppressing his own Islamic people is inimical to such a fundamentalist terrorist organisation.

§Mr. DalyellOf course, al-Qaeda had a connection with Saddam Hussein. On two occasions, it tried to assassinate him.

§Mr. SayeedI thank the Father of the House for reminding hon. Members of that fact. It makes my point that Saddam Hussein is inimical to al-Qaeda.

Secondly, we were told that war was necessary because Saddam Hussein had a variety of foul weapons. When the inspectors did not find them, the Prime Minister changed his “just cause for war” again. In 843answer to my question on 12 February, he introduced the concept of a moral war, waged as a humanitarian intervention to save the people of Iraq.

§Mr. George OsborneSurely it was not the weapons inspectors’ job to find the weapons, but Saddam Hussein’s job to show them where the weapons were.

§Mr. SayeedI agree absolutely. Saddam Hussein should have done that. I intend to show why he would never do it.

Would the people of Iraq be better off if Saddam Hussein were dead or in exile? The answer is undoubtedly yes. Does the Iraqi regime have weapons of mass destruction? It almost certainly does. They are possibly so well hidden that they would be difficult to use immediately. Has Saddam Hussein supported terrorist organisations? Again, the answer is yes, but, as far as I am aware, to a lesser extent than Syria. None of those factors justifies immediate military action.

Much more could and should have been done to bring irresistible pressure to bear on Saddam Hussein by, for example, extending the no-fly zones to cover the whole of Iraq, by requiring Iraqi military personnel and equipment to be returned to agreed positions or by demanding that the weapons inspectors had unfettered access to sites and Iraqi personnel. Such draconian measures might have received international approval, and might reluctantly have been accepted by Saddam Hussein, provided that the visible threat of war continued. They certainly would have degraded the Iraqi regime’s ability to resist military action if it came. Obviously, I cannot prove that my ideas, or any others, would have worked. I believe, however, that much more could have been done, and that much more should have been done differently, so that the effect of prevarication or cheating would have been obvious. We did not do that, however. Instead, we made demands that the Iraqi regime was always unlikely to accept, and which, if it did pretend to accept them, would be easy to cheat or lie about, as its dishonesty was hard to prove.

So, we are faced with war. It is a war whose justification will not be accepted by most of the Muslim world. Too little fresh thinking has been employed in trying to avert it, and its rationale has changed as each reason has remained unproven. It is portrayed as a war of last resort, yet it appears to be born of frustration with a regime and a leader without whom the world would be better off. I will give my unswerving support to those whom we have sent to fight in our name, but I will not support a premature decision to wage war. I hope that we will not come to regret this, but I fear that we will.

5.56 pm

§Mr. Wayne David (Caerphilly)I would like to begin by paying tribute to my right hon. Friend the Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook). When I was a Member of the European Parliament, I worked closely with him when he was shadow Foreign Secretary and Foreign Secretary, and I have a deep respect for his genuine internationalism.

Like many Members of the House, I have thought long and hard about this complex issue. I have great respect for everyone who has spoken in this debate and 844for the many people with whom I have had discussions on the issue over the last couple of weeks. I want to say clearly that I support the Government. I do so not out of any sycophancy or blind loyalty, but because I believe that the position that they have adopted is morally correct.

Equally, I would like to say that I am not naturally a great ally or fan of the United States of America. I remember going to Nicaragua on two occasions in the 1980s, and I saw at first hand the extremely negative aspects of the US foreign policy of the time for the people of that country. Furthermore, when I turn on the television and see George W. Bush, I frequently cringe when I hear the vacuous rhetoric that he often employs. That is not a reason, however, to oppose the US position on Iraq. It is incumbent on all of us carefully to study precisely what the American position is, and what it means in practice.

Like many Members of the House, I had strongly hoped that we would have had a second United Nations resolution. However, having studied carefully the transcripts of various statements by President Chirac of France, there is no doubt in my mind that the French are primarily responsible for the fact that we do not have such a resolution. They threatened to use their veto in a quite unreasonable way, and many of us who wanted a second resolution did so on the assumption that all parties on the Security Council would approach the issue in a constructive, objective and fair way. That clearly has not happened.

We have to ask ourselves why the French have adopted this position. Some people might cite French commercial and oil interests. We have to bear in mind, however, that the French are playing a longer and bigger game plan here. They are concerned, it would seem, with developing an alternative global vision to that of the United States. They see themselves as the new and natural leaders of the European Union. I find that perspective extremely worrying, and I think that we in our country must ensure that there is a bridge between the United States and Europe enabling us all to work together as far as is humanly possible.

We must also never forget that, time and again, Saddam Hussein has been given the opportunity to resolve the situation. The onus has rightly been placed on him. If he had said at any moment—not during the last few days or months, but at any time during the last 12 years—that he was prepared to comply with United Nations resolutions, we would not be in our present position. We should never, ever forget that.

A clear choice is before us today. Many have talked of the consequences of military action; let me briefly refer to some of the consequences that I envisage in the event of no military action. First, I believe that the UN’s influence would be reduced still further. Our Prime Minister’s approach has, I believe, been the right approach. We must ensure that once military action has been taken, the UN continues to play a major role in world affairs and, in particular, plays a leading role in the creation of the democratic Iraq that we want to see. If we abdicate our responsibilities, the chances of that will be significantly less. Secondly, I believe that if we vote against military action there will still be a war: there will be a war if the United States alone attacks Iraq. I think that that more than anything else would reinforce the inclination of many in the US Administration to go845for unbridled unilateralism, which would constitute a huge step back for the global community. I fear, too, that the much-discussed road map would be that much more difficult to fulfil.

If the United States and we do not take action, however, Saddam Hussein will have been given the all-clear to keep his weapons of mass destruction. Moreover, he will have been given the OK by us to develop them still further. Let us not forget, too, that when we talk of weapons of mass destruction we talk of some of the most appalling weapons that humankind has developed—anthrax, mustard gas, VX gas, sarin gas and so on.

Finally, let me say this. If we do not take action—if we abdicate our responsibilities—the consequences for the people of Iraq will be dire. No one can doubt the barbarities of Saddam Hussein’s regime: the torture, the persecution, the intimidation, the rape, the murder, the sheer inhumanity of the Ba’athist regime. My hon. Friend the Member for Cynon Valley (Ann Clwyd) has depicted that inhumanity more graphically than anyone else I can think of. If we back down now, we will not be forgiven by thousands of ordinary people in Iraq.

Yesterday I was privileged to attend a meeting with the Prime Minister of Kurdish northern Iraq. The message was crystal clear: “Please stand by us. Please stand by the people of Iraq, the Kurds and the Shi’ites, so that we can have a better life—a life free of tyranny and free of the tyranny of Saddam Hussein”.

Like all other Members, I have given this issue careful consideration. I believe that there are powerful and genuine arguments on both sides; but I also believe that at this crucial time we must stand by the people of Iraq, do what we believe is right, and support the Government’s motion.

§6.4 pm

§Mr. David Trimble (Upper Bann)As someone remarked earlier, there is a sense that this debate is a continuation of what we discussed at some length a few weeks ago. I dare say that we will come back to the subject in the next week or two.

Many arguments have been made and points touched on, but the hon. Member for Billericay (Mr. Baron) and the right hon. and learned Member for Sleaford and North Hykeham (Mr. Hogg) spoke of containment and deterrence as a way of dealing with the problem. Those concepts worked well during the cold war, but the world has changed since the cold war ended. We must recognise that containment and deterrence will not work in the situation that confronts us.

In the modern world, we face danger from what are called rogue states, terrorist groups and weapons of mass destruction. As a consequence of the cold war, there is a lot of expertise and materiel floating around the world that is not as well guarded as it should be. Perhaps we did not fully appreciate the problem before 11 September, but the events of that day should have concentrated minds on the matter. In the context of this debate, the significance of 11 September is that it made people realise that a different approach was needed if we were to deal with the problems caused by WMD, terrorist movements and rogue states.

846That different approach was symbolised last year by the passing of resolution 1441. The international community decided to proceed by a route different from that offered by containment and deterrence, and to go back to the weapons inspections that had taken place immediately after the Gulf war. In that way, a serious effort was made to disarm Saddam Hussein.

As I noted in the previous debate on the matter, there was a paradox in the attempt to disarm Saddam Hussein through weapons inspections. The paradox was that disarmament was not going to happen unless inspection was backed up by a credible threat of force. That was how it turned out: Saddam Hussein was not going to disarm voluntarily, and any moves made in that direction would happen only if he believed that massive force would be used against him if he did not comply.

The paradox was that the peaceful, diplomatic route was credible only if a major power was ready to use force, if necessary. However, that approach was no longer tenable after Monday of last week, when the French said that they would veto a resolution whatever the circumstances.

People have talked about the position of other countries, and about the position of Russia in particular. I shall talk about Russia again in a moment, but the French took a unique position because they said that they would veto any resolution that appeared to authorise force, whatever the circumstances. The French were not going to say, “Give it another month or couple of months.” If the French position had been to give the approach a little more time, it would have been possible to maintain the credible threat of force. However, as soon as the French said that they would exercise their veto whatever the circumstances, they destroyed the credible threat of force used through the UN channel.

The UN route was therefore blocked. The Government and the US Government spent a week seeing whether they could unblock it, or find some way around the blockage. I am surprised that they spent so long coming to terms with the French position, which effectively closed down the UN route.

Why have the French done this? Their actions are different from the normal French way of operating, with which we are all familiar. In the past, yes, the French have been awkward and difficult. They have hung on until people have met the requirements of what the French regard as their national interest, or until people have recognised the French position. They do not like being taken for granted, but in the past they have usually come into line.

There were indications that the Russians were going to do the same. Whatever their public position, the Russians had a shopping list. I am very glad that the Americans were not tempted to accede to the list, as the reports that I have heard suggest that it contained some pretty gruesome items. Be that as it may, the Russians were operating in their normal way, and one expected the French to do likewise. The question is, why did the French adopt the position of saying that they would exercise the veto, whatever the circumstances?

The hon. Member for Caerphilly (Mr. David) was getting close to the answer to that question when he said that it went back to the French view of themselves in Europe. The hon. Gentleman said that the French 847believe that they should lead Europe, and that Europe should be another pole of power in the world—a challenge or a rival to the US. However, they discovered that that was not the view of the majority of European countries. That goes a long way to explain the French position and I hope that the Government will bear that in mind when we come to the accession of the eastern European countries to the European Union. I hope that that will not be subject to a veto. We should also remember that point when we consider the outcome of the Convention on the Future of Europe.

For present purposes, we must recognise that the UN route ended on Monday last week. What do we do no11w? We are not where we wanted to be and the situation is not ideal, but we must operate in the circumstances that now prevail. Are we just going to strike camp and go away? Will the United States allow itself to be humiliated by the French? No, it will not, and nor could anyone reasonably expect that. Nor would it be reasonable to think along those lines ourselves. If resolution 1441 is right, ensuring compliance with it is also right. The French action, therefore, is an unreasonable exercise of the veto.

The Prime Minister made a powerful and compelling speech. I agreed especially with the comments that he made towards the end of it. We must make a choice in the present circumstances. We must consider the consequences of that choice, some of which are unknowable and unpredictable. There is an element of risk in the choice that we make, but we must make it. The situation is imperfect—this is an imperfect world—and the issue cannot be easily compartmentalised. In the present situation, however, we do not have much of a choice and that is why my colleagues and I will support the Government in the Lobby tonight.

6.11 pm

§Helen Jackson (Sheffield, Hillsborough)I am pleased to follow the right hon. Member for Upper Bann (Mr. Trimble), because, as leader of his party, alongside the other party leaders in Northern Ireland, he has shown the way in going the extra mile when the point is reached at which they are as frustrated with the peace process as any Member of Parliament is with the present international impasse. Perhaps there is a lesson to be learned from that.

The imagery of the past few weeks has included some disturbing contrasts. We have seen 1.5 million people on the streets of London—one of the biggest demonstrations ever. We have seen the images of the Iraqis sending old al-Samoud missiles off to the knacker’s yard and the awesome sight of an army of modern weaponry on the border of Iraq, prepared to invade and occupy a small but strategic and historic country in the middle east. There is always something distasteful and unpleasant about overweening might being used in war against a much smaller nation. It is the imagery of David and Goliath, the bully in the playground, the Soviet invasion of Hungary or the tanks rolling into Czechoslovakia, the bombing of La Moneda palace in Chile in 1973 and, indeed, the despotic acts of Saddam Hussein in oppressing minorities in Iraq.

I disagreed with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister today when he compared this situation with that in 1938. In that situation, we faced a country that 848itself was using overweening force to impose its will on other smaller countries. It was right to challenge the US Administration and go through the UN last autumn, but it became apparent that that approach could be interpreted in two ways. The danger was that the US would see the UN approach as a vindication of something that it always intended to do and would pay only lip service to resolution 1441. On the other hand, resolution 1441 could be seen as the consensus between those nations—I count Britain among them—that genuinely felt that it offered the potential of disarmament without military action.

The effectiveness of the peaceful approach was undermined every time that we saw Donald Rumsfeld or other members of the US Administration on television saying, “We will take military action to enforce our will in Iraq, but we would prefer a UN resolution.” It was undermined every time that Britain failed to offer a strong rebuttal of such statements or to demand publicly that the US should declare that it was prepared not to use military force if that was the consensus reached in the UN. It was undermined whenever Members of Parliament said that the UN mandate would not prevail and that nothing would stop the US. It was undermined when the President of France, Jacques Chirac, threatened recently to veto rather than negotiate the terms of a second resolution, which we all wanted desperately to see negotiated in the Security Council.

Resolution 1441 required that the Security Council consider the outcome of the weapons inspections and it clearly left the UN in control of whether action was taken. Our Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary understood that very well, and I applaud their efforts. The collective view has not been secured, however, and that imposes constraints on everyone, whether they comply or not. As matters stand, we are no longer in compliance with the international will and Kofi Annan has not lent his authority to military action.

When I was in Africa last week I was struck by the shock and incredulity of people in the small country of Malawi at the British position. They said, “But we thought that Britain was on our side. We thought that you would support small, developing countries that have only international bodies to protect them.” Only six months ago, a large group of young constituents came here on the fair trade lobby, feeling totally in tune with a Government who had a proud record of tough international action on the issue. That has been a hallmark of this Labour Government and we have been in tune with the new generation, reflecting their growing recognition that the world is now a smaller place and that we are now more dependent than ever on a collective approach not only to security, but to the joint occupation of this planet.

Two weeks ago, I supported the amendment that considered that war was not yet inevitable. The decision and judgment for MPs is more difficult today, because further efforts have been made and there is a serious question about where we should go from here. First, we are all united in supporting the troops. Secondly, we hope that the new smart bombs that are supposed to be able to destroy everything within 600 yd will try not to destroy too many people. Thirdly, we hope that the excellent section of the Government motion—if it is passed tonight—on Israel and Palestine will be realised.

849I remain sceptical about any war that is said to end wars; I remain sceptical that this war will secure defence against international terrorism; and I remain sceptical, finally, that this will reap—

§Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst)Order. The hon. Lady has had her time.

6.20 pm

§Mr. John Burnett (Torridge and West Devon)Our difficulties in this debate are as nothing to those that confront our armed forces, who deserve our unqualified support. It has been a principled decision of my party to uphold international order and institutions—in particular, the United Nations. We have consistently argued, first, that military action should not take place to enforce resolution 1441 without a mandate from the United Nations Security Council, and, secondly, that no British forces should be committed to any military action without a debate in the House and a substantive vote in favour. I personally have engrafted a further condition to my constituents—I would in no circumstances do anything that I consider would undermine our armed forces.

I am grateful to the Government for—uniquely, I believe—providing an opportunity for this debate and vote. The whole country is well aware of the lengths to which the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and his team have gone to secure the further resolution from the United Nations to authorise military action. There has, however, been a failure of diplomacy. Considerable criticism has been directed at the United States Administration for adopting a bulldozer approach and displaying a cavalier insensitivity towards a number of our allies and a number of their potential, and crucial, allies. However, I support our strong links with the United States. Despite one or two hiccups, for the past century our close links with the United States have served both countries well.

The position of France has always been pivotal to the negotiations on a further resolution of the United Nations. It is deeply disappointing that France’s final position was that, whatever further resolution was passed, it would veto any measure that provided authority for the use of military force in the event of failure. France’s position was pivotal: if she had been prepared to vote for a resolution, not to vote at all, or not to veto a resolution, I believe that it would have caused a domino effect and that the resolution would have passed. Whatever criticisms can be directed at the allies, France does not come to this matter with clean hands. France has her own view of the world and the French have major contingent contracts and commercial interests with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.

The Prime Minister has not spared himself in endeavouring to secure a second resolution, which demonstrates the importance that he and his Government attach to that second resolution. It would have been crucial to my party’s support for any military intervention. The courageous men and women of our 850armed forces are now about to be sent into battle. They simply cannot be kept hanging around any longer. I offer them my wholehearted support. In the terms of the main amendment, I express my admiration for their courage, skill and devotion to duty”. I not only hope but believe that their tasks will be swiftly concluded with minimal casualties on all sides.

I cannot vote against a motion that offers support to Her Majesty’s armed forces who are now on duty in the middle east. Of course, there are matters in the Government motion with which I do not agree and which I cannot support. Nevertheless, there is much in the Government motion with which I do agree and which I can support. I shall, however, vote for the main amendment. I concede that it took the imminent threat of overwhelming force, but the weapons inspectors were having significant success. I strongly believe in world order, the reverse of which is anarchy and chaos.

§Mr. Alan Duncan (Rutland and Melton)The hon. Gentleman was following impeccable logic until the last moment. If his preferred amendment is defeated, will he—given what he has just said—vote in favour of the main motion?

§Mr. BurnettI will make my position quite clear. I shall probably have to abstain. There are aspects of the Government motion that I support and aspects that I cannot support.

Pre-emptive action must be reserved to deal with the threat of an attack on a nation or its allies, or there must be compelling evidence of imminent, impending attack, or there must be the sanction of the United Nations Security Council. There has been a diplomatic failure, which I deeply regret. However, for all its flaws, I believe in the United Nations and the rule of international law.

In his speech, the right hon. Member for North-West Hampshire (Sir George Young) described the decision on this amendment as finely balanced. I very much agree with him. He went on to say that this debate was a battle for the credibility or the unity of the United Nations. I submit that the United Nations cannot be credible without unity.

6.27 pm

§Mr. Robert Marshall-Andrews (Medway)There is an old and famous observation about the relationship between murder and international power politics: if someone murders one person, they go to prison for life; if someone murders 15 people, they are put in a sanatorium; and if someone murders 150,000 people, they get invited to a peace conference. Those words were much in my mind yesterday when I listened to the Foreign Secretary talking about the prospect of Saddam Hussein resigning power voluntarily. The Foreign Secretary said that Saddam Hussein would be offered and would receive amnesty and indemnity internationally for the crimes that he had committed.

In these debates in the House, there has been no shortage of people who have set out in graphic detail the crimes and the iniquities that Saddam Hussein has committed against his own and other people; the individual and collective tortures that he has visited on those people; and the gassing, the burning and the 851mutilations for which he has been responsible. If that indemnity is to take place, those who have suffered those injustices will have no justice.

Whether there is a greater right or greater wrong in offering such indemnity is not the reason behind my observations, but I wish to reflect on these questions. By whose authority is that indemnity offered? Whose writ runs here and whose may be abrogated? On what authority would that be done? Who decides which mass murderers should be the subject of indemnity and pardon, and which should be the subject of indictment? Who decides which mass murderers should be the subject of condemnation and which should be hanged? Who decides that Milosevic should be in The Hague, as he undoubtedly should be for his complicity in the murder of thousands in Bosnia? Who decides that Ariel Sharon should be supreme in Israel, which he undoubtedly should not be because of his complicity in the murders at Sabra and Shatila? Who decides that Hamas is a terrorist organisation, which it undoubtedly is, and that the Contras were a freedom-fighting organisation, which they undoubtedly were not? Who decides that the hundreds who are held without trial or civil rights in Zimbabwe present an affront to international justice? Who decides that it is necessary for international security to hold hundreds in Camp X-Ray in Guantanamo bay in Cuba, which undoubtedly it is not?

Who decides on the form of international justice that the Foreign Secretary talked about? The Foreign Secretary, of course, was echoing and acting as a mouthpiece for Donald Rumsfeld, who has already set it out.

I can say straight away that it is not the UN that decides such matters. When one reads resolution 1441, one finds, despite its inordinate length and impenetrable prose, absolutely nothing that speaks of any form of clemency for, or acquittal of, Saddam Hussein.

§Mr. Alan DuncanIn practical terms, is not the logic of what the hon. and learned Gentleman advocates that he rejects a free Saddam and a free Iraq, and favours, by contrast, a free Saddam and a subjugated Iraq?

§Mr. Marshall-AndrewsThat is not the position that I advocate, as the hon. Gentleman will realise if he listens for a while. My point is this: who creates this form of international justice? I am not arguing about its merits, but pointing out that the perception that concerns this House and creates aversion outside it is that this international power is wielded not by the United Nations, nor even by the United States, but by the Bush Administration from within the United States. What concerns my constituents and those throughout the country and the world is the prospect of the uncontrolled, unbridled power now exercised by America, as America chooses and America pleases. My constituents perceive, although they would not put in these terms, that we now have a de facto international monarchy—an autocracy that rules by its own version of divine right. The genesis of that divine right can be found in its charter—the project for a new American century.

Much has been said today about America. As I have said before, America is the greatest paradox in the world. There is no greater force for peace in my lifetime 852than America, and I have never known a greater cause for war. No country holds a torch for freedom that burns as brightly a that of America, and in my lifetime no country has so often been vilified—on many occasions, rightly—for the perception that it denies those freedoms to others, as it has on many occasions, notably in Latin America. That is the great paradox.

What matters about America is who governs it and what is done in its name. We are now in a black period of American history, and that fact is perceived darkly by our constituents. That is why, sometimes apparently incomprehensibly, they oppose the overthrowing of a dictator because they believe that the method is unacceptable.

The American Administration wish to overthrow Saddam Hussein. That was set out in the project for a new American century even before George Bush obtained the power that he has in the White House. They will do it by whatever means that they can, and that is also known to those who observe, but they will not do it by war: it will be done by slaughter. It will be done by the means that we saw exercised on the Basra road and the Mitla ridge, when Newsweek reported that American soldiers, white-faced and vomiting, were standing underneath bridges ankle-deep in Iraqi blood and saying, “Jesus, did we do that?” That is the prospect that we face in the coming days. Of course it will be short: no such slaughter could be anything else.

I long—I really do—for a time when we have an international system that means that we no longer have to walk by and listen to the screams in our neighbour’s house, and when the duty to intervene in Rwanda and in Bosnia will be undertaken by the international community, not taken by anybody as a capricious right. That day, which I long for both as a lawyer and as a politician, will not be brought a second, a minute or an hour closer by the exercise of arbitrary and capricious power.

6.35 pm

§Sir Teddy Taylor (Rochford and Southend, East)So many hon. Members wish to speak—I have never known a previous occasion on which there have been so many at this stage—that I shall speak very briefly just to mention three points that I hope Ministers will bear in mind when they wind up.

The main point that hon. Members have addressed is the appalling weapons controlled by Saddam Hussein and the terrible damage that they could do to so many people. I hope that before we vote, the Government will help to clarify where those weapons and biological materials came from. I have tried for quite a while to get information about that. About three weeks ago, in Question Time, I asked the Secretary of State for Defence to confirm where they came from and whether they had perhaps come from America. We were told that the Americans had denied it. Earlier today, when I intervened on the speech of the Prime Minister, I asked him to help to identify where the weapons had come from and who was responsible for them. Hon. Members may recall that he said that Iraq had made most of them itself.

I would suggest that there is abundantly clear evidence that, instead of taking a high—handed and upmarket view of ourselves, we should accept a 853considerable measure of the responsibility for what has happened. Now that our sittings finish at 7 o’clock, I am engaging in reading books, which is something that I have not done for a long time. If any hon. Member wants to know about the subject, they should buy a book called “The Death Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq”, by Kenneth Timmerman. It is a rather dramatic book that gives full details of where all the materials came from, and we simply have to accept some responsibility for that.

What kinds of materials are we talking about? I have managed to get full details not only of the materials that were sent, but when they were sent—on which days—from the United States to Iraq’s Atomic Energy Commission and Government. It is an astonishing list. It includes bacillus anthracis, which is just anthrax—a very substantial amount; clostridium, which is the source of a toxin; histoplasma, which causes a disease resembling tuberculosis; brucella, which damages major organs; another material that causes gas gangrene; E. coli; and seven others. Those materials were not produced by Iraq, but provided and sold by the western powers. We should show a little humility and decency, and say that part of the problem came from ourselves.

§Dr. Julian LewisWill my hon. Friend explain whether the book and the documents that he has been reading actually say whether Governments or private companies supplied those things and, if it was the former, for what purpose they thought that they were supplying them?

§Sir Teddy TaylorIt is abundantly clear that the US Department of Commerce approved every single thing that went from the United States to Iraq. It was not a question of secret firms doing nasty things; this was approved by Government. It is difficult to prove that one wants to use a material such as anthrax to help in the improvement of animals, or to achieve better forms of production.

§Mr. Calum MacDonald (Western Isles)I, too, have read the book that the hon. Gentleman mentions, as well as documents issued by the House of Commons Library detailing arms exports to Iraq before the previous Gulf war. Will he confirm that 75 per cent. of all conventional weaponry exported to Iraq before the Gulf war came from two states, France and Russia; that 90 per cent. of the nuclear weapons technology given to Iraq came, of course, from France, in a deal signed personally by Jacques Chirac and Saddam Hussein; and that the overwhelming bulk of chemical technology came from Germany?

§Sir Teddy TaylorI would not question that in any way—of course Germany and France provided materials, and the Soviet Union and the United States did so as well. I am simply saying that, in arguing that here is a bad state doing evil things, we should remember that lots of other countries—including the United States, Russia and France—were involved in providing such material. It would be very wrong indeed not to accept some degree of responsibility.

854My second point concerns our responsibilities in international law. The Government’s biological Green Paper states that there was an “internationally legally binding instrument”, and that those at every level responsible for any breach of international law will be held personally accountable. That refers to the export of biological and toxic materials. The danger is that we are throwing away a great deal, and that, to some degree, we might be responsible for such matters. It is totally wrong to say that some people in the world are good and some are bad, because we have a great deal of responsibility for them.

There is a great feeling among us that we are going to intervene, improve matters and restore democracy, freedom and liberty, but where is the evidence that such intervention has been successful in the past? For example, a great deal has been said about Afghanistan, a country that I know a little about, but can we say that things there are much better as a result of the intervention that took place? Rather, it is a pathetic country, run by a group of people who have no democratic responsibility whatever.

§Mike GapesWill the hon. Gentleman give way?

§Sir Teddy TaylorI am sorry, but I have no time. As we well know, the production of materials that run rife in that country—drugs—has increased dramatically. There is a danger in thinking that we can solve things too easily and too quickly.

I accept that we have a responsibility towards British troops, and that Saddam Hussein would probably have made no move at all had the troops not been there. However, as I said, there is a danger in not accepting our responsibility. The United Nations has a very important role to play, but we must ask ourselves honestly whether we are using that facility in the proper way. For example, the Government of Chile—an unusual little country—proposed that three weeks be allowed before intervention. Of course, they were told that that was not even a consideration.

At the end of the day, we will regret it if we destroy the United Nations. I shall in no sense go against France, as some of my colleagues have done. They have voted to hand over most of our national sovereignty to such countries, and they seem now to regard France as a great enemy. I regard no country in that way. We need to show a little humility, and not think that we can provide the answer to everything by running the world and becoming the emperors of it. If we can show such humility, this will be a better debate, and there will be a better outcome for all concerned.

6.44 pm

§Peter Bradley (The Wrekin)During the past six months, I have listened to my friends, to colleagues in my constituency party, to constituents, and to colleagues in this House today and during previous debates. Like every other Member, I have agonised over whether I could be party to a decision that will result in the death of innocent people, because that, inevitably, is what war involves. I hoped that we would not reach this day, that reason would somehow prevail, and that Saddam would come to order. However, the day has come, and we have to make a decision.

855For us tonight, there is nowhere to hide. We will have to be honest with our constituents and, first of all, we have to be honest with ourselves. That is infinitely difficult if we cannot be certain that the decision that we take, individually or collectively, will be right; and it is all the more difficult when there is no unanimity on which is the right course.

I believe in just wars. I believe that they are commissioned in defence of freedom, and against oppression. I also believe that, for them to be just wars, they must be the last resort. Diplomacy must come first, but if we are ultimately to prevail in defence of what we believe to be right, there must also be a limit to diplomacy.

§Mr. Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield)Is it not much easier to decide what constitutes a just war a long time after the event, and much more difficult to make that assessment at the time one decides to go to war?

§Peter BradleyMy hon. Friend makes precisely the point that I was trying to make, but far more eloquently. We do not have the gift of hindsight, and we will not have it for many years. Nevertheless, tonight we must make a principled and rational decision.

Like other Members, I believe in the United Nations, for all its imperfections and deficiencies, and for all its sins and omissions. It is the best hope that we have, and it provides the best opportunity to build international consensus, and to impose and sustain a world order that believes in the same principles that we hold dear. I wish that the United Nations had been more consistent, and that we, too, had been more consistent. When we intervened in Kosovo without a UN mandate, I said that I hoped that this was the beginning of a new world order. I hoped that we would be emboldened to intervene, when required, before genocide was committed in Rwanda, rather than wringing our hands afterwards. Had we been more consistent, perhaps we would be facing less difficulty now over the legitimacy of intervening in Iraq. If we do intervene, as seems inevitable, I hope that we will in future take to heart the lessons about consistency, and that we will be prepared, together as an international community, to intervene to prevent genocide and oppression, and to deter dictators.

For the past six months, I have characterised my views on Iraq as being open-minded but sceptical: that I could be persuaded that this would be a just war, but that I had yet to be so persuaded. I was looking for the killer fact. We all acknowledge that Saddam has weapons of mass destruction, and we know that he has used them brutally against his own people and against others. However, we, too, have weapons of mass destruction. The key point is: is he prepared to use them again? If he is—if we have that intelligence—the case for war is unanswerable. However, we have not had that killer fact.

In listening to the debate that took place in this Chamber three weeks ago, I had sympathy with the amendment tabled by my right hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Smith). He said that the case had not been made. He and his colleagues argued that we needed a second UN resolution desperately—in fact, it would have been the 18th resolution—because wars are always evil, and innocent people get killed in wars. They argued that without a 856second resolution, we would light the blue touch paper to a conflagration in the middle east and recruit people to terrorism, but that f we got that resolution and Saddam still failed to come to order, undertaking military intervention would be justified. However, would innocent people still not die in those circumstances? Would we still not risk a conflagration in the middle east? Would we still not recruit people to terrorist causes? Wars do that, with or without resolutions.

I say to my colleagues that convictions are not enough; we also need courage and clear-sightedness to see the world not as we would like to see it, but as it is—as Saddam has made it. For 30 years he has oppressed his people and butchered Iraqi minorities; he has invaded his neighbours and threatened us all with weapons of mass destruction and for 30 years, yes, we have tolerated it. Some western nations supplied and fuelled his ambitions and his barbarity. We should indeed be humble, as the hon. Member for Rochford and Southend, East (Sir Teddy Taylor) suggested, but that does not mean that we should do nothing.

Last November, it appeared that the United Nations had woken up to its responsibilities. There was unanimous support for resolution 1441, which spoke of final opportunities and serious consequences. Four months later, when Saddam has failed to comply with that resolution, the international community has shown that it is not serious about “serious consequences”.

I was prepared to support the drive for a second resolution, not because I felt that we needed its legitimacy, but because the decision before us would have been much more straightforward if the international community had been united and also because public opinion demanded it. However, as colleagues have suggested, the French put that diplomacy beyond reach; their President foreclosed on diplomacy.

A stark choice faces us: we can walk away from our international responsibilities and our obligations to the Iraqis and cede victory to Saddam and to every fascist dictator who chooses to emulate him; we can decide not to decide; or we can take the decision that no one who loves peace chooses to make or ever thought that they would have to make—to fulfil our obligations and go to war to secure peace.

Do those who say no to war in their name want Saddam to continue his barbarity in their name? Are we to abandon his victims in their name? Just as they warn us of the consequences of the war that we may commit, it is right to warn them of the consequences of inaction. I share the misgivings expressed by right hon. and hon. Members about United States policy and about US contempt for the UN, which is in stark contrast to the commitment and consistent principles that we have adopted in pursuit of diplomacy; but if might is not always right, being strong is not always wrong either. Whether we like it or not, we have to accept that the US is the only global superpower. We can either try to influence it within the international community or abandon the world to its often cynical self-interest.

Now is decision time. If we are to set aside our prejudices and accept that doing nothing is not an option, if we accept that diplomacy is at an end and that Saddam continues to defy and threaten us, what is the alternative 857to war? It is not the Prime Ministers war. It is not the American President’s war—it is Saddam’s war. We must join it and end it as soon as possible.

6.53 pm

§Mr. Richard Page (South-West Hertfordshire)I am no peacenik. I supported action in the Falklands and the Gulf. I supported the Prime Minister’s excursions in Kosovo. When the Serbian army withdrew, its condition was such that I was glad that Milosevic had decided not to fight. If he had, the outcome could have been much more bloody and horrific.

If there is a war, I, like everyone in the House, will give our troops full support. The Iraqi regime is rotten and the war could be short, so we shall be in the reconstruction and rebuilding phase quicker than we might anticipate. I wonder whether the Government have spent enough time looking at reconstruction, rat her than knocking things down.

I made it clear that unless there was a second resolution I would not support the Government. I shall vote for the amendment, but I shall do so with reluctance and regret; in 26 years as a Member of the House, this will only be the second or third time that I have voted against my party.

There are additional reasons for my views. The proposed action will crack unity—if it has not cracked already—in NATO, the EU, the Security Council and the United Nations. I am not saying that Humpty Dumpty can never be put together again, but it will take a long, long time. I take no pride in hearing clever-clever remarks knocking other countries, because sooner or later we shall have to get together and rebuild things. We shall have to bring about international agreement on the way forward. Smart remarks against the French and remarks such as those made by the American Secretary of State are not helpful and I greatly regret that they were made.

The Government produced various arguments that were apparently the best thing to do at the time, which seems to be part of their policy. They have proposed the morality argument. I go along with that. Saddam Hussein is an evil man. I am one of the few Members who have actually met him. If he were to be found dead tomorrow, I would not lose sleep. But where do we stop? It is Saddam Hussein today because he is an evil, wicked man, but who will it be tomorrow? would have more respect for the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary if they had condemned what was happening in Rwanda at the time and said that we should put forces into that country to stop the terrible genocide. The standard punishment for young girls at that time was to take off their hands at the wrist.

Where will the moral argument take us? I am concerned that the Americans will become the international peacekeepers; they will be Matt Dillon while we are Chester, limping along behind. We must think carefully when we take the path of ending tyrannical regimes.

To try to bolster their case, the Government produced documentation, rightly described as dodgy documents. To lift vast chunks of a person’s work, which was already several years old, lard it with words such as “terrorism” and try to pass it off as one’s own work is less than satisfactory.

858Another argument is that Saddam attacked other countries. He fought Iran and Kuwait. However, as my hon. Friend the Member for Rochford and Southend, East (Sir Teddy Taylor) pointed out, several western countries do not have entirely clean hands in that matter; we seem to pick and choose our support or condemnation of various people. The world should be careful about providing equipment and weapons of mass destruction to people of the ilk of Saddam Hussein.

We are told that Saddam Hussein still has weapons of mass destruction, but what will happen if we do not find them when we go in? If I were Saddam Hussein, I would have got rid of them long ago. We could be creating justification for every extremist Islamic group in the world to declare open season on the United Kingdom and the United States.

§Caroline Flint (Don Valley)Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

§Mr. PageI should rather not. The magic hour of 7 o’clock is approaching and I should like to finish my speech by then.

I want to look ahead to the rebuilding. I am greatly concerned that we have not spent enough time considering how to rebuild Iraq. Have the Government thought the process through? What exactly will we put in place? I have heard about territorial protection and the maintenance of borders, but has anyone talked to the Kurds of northern Iraq about that? [HON. MEMBERS: “Yes.”] Has anyone spoken to those in the east of Turkey? Have they signed up to all this?

In conclusion, I have to say that, without world support, I fear that our well-established moral integrity and authority throughout the world will be damaged and that Islamic extremists will take advantage of that if weapons of mass destruction are not found in Iraq.


CID officer doesn’t know what a legal fiction is! My ass!

Posted in Law, The Corrupt SOB's by earthling on February 17, 2014

The epitome of what I despise: A well trained (monkey), softly spoken, wilfully ignorant excuse for a human being who knows precisely what the legal fiction is (for if she does not, then she should be sacked considering her level within that protection racket she calls the CID) but makes the condescending remark of “I don’t know what books you’re reading”. Listen to me honey, you need to READ more books! But then you don’t “practice” law do you so you would argue you don’t need to understand it, you just enforce it. While you wish him to let you finish talking (because you do have that arrogance to believe that whatever is spat out of your mouth is of the utmost importance) but you do not extend the same grace toward allowing him to finish. In fact you don’t even listen because the one thing you cannot afford to do is have a debate on the subject of the person and common law because then you would never get your prosecution. And that’s the rub with you sweetheart: You’re not trying to protect anyone (there is no victim) and neither are you, as you suggest, trying to “get things right” for him. You don’t even wish to understand him but you demand he understands you. All you want is your conviction and, for some reason – probably for the camera and to give the public the impression that you are measured, in control and ever so fair – you keep that voice of yours “sweet” and quietly calm. But listen honey, some of us can see right through that shit. You’re a piece of work and, in my view, you’re a liar if you are suggesting that you do not have a clue what a legal fiction is. As the public become more and more aware of exactly what the legal person/legal fiction is, they will recognise you for what you (and your colleagues) are.

Unfortunately, we have a society which simply sees “drugs” and assumes a criminal. Perhaps they also have their prejudices against certain accents and/or class and you will use that to your every advantage plus the fact that the vast majority of people are as ignorant of the legal fiction as you pretend to be otherwise, in a jury of his peers – under common law – they would find there is no actual law against what he has done and find him not guilty. Personally, I don’t take drugs and I would rather not plus I’d never consider growing the stuff but that is my personal choice and preference. He, therefore, does not cause me a harm or a loss – no tort whatsoever. therefore, you are not protecting me and I don’t need your protection. You will say, on the other hand, “ah but there are people who do need our protection” (whether they wish it or not) yet all you are doing is removing freewill and choice. Anyone who bought his product would be doing it of their own freewill. Again, therefore, no victim. It’s called responsibility for one’s own actions and one’s own life. But I’ll bet you this sweetheart, if YOU don’t smoke the odd joint, your colleagues do! You bunch of corrupt, hypocritical little shits!

I wonder how this video has been released to the public however and for what reason? Interesting eh?

“Mere concepts of morality have no business being law”

Posted in Gross stupidity within society, Law, Paedophilia by earthling on February 16, 2014

Yes you read that right. From ZETA – a group of what I guess we have to call humans who like to fuck animals.

So, by the same token, the mere concept of morality regarding sexually abusing a child or even murder have no business being law. If this is the way you want your world to go and this is the world you want your children and grandchildren to live in, then just keep liberally accepting the “progressive” laissez faire and “live and let live” and “Do what thou wilt” culture of depravity that just keep creeping along while our governments don’t listen to the moral concerns of most people but give way to the well funded minority groups who lobby. When did you ever hear of a group of lobbyists for “normality”? Never.

First homosexuality

then bisexuality

then omnisexuality (anything goes)


One thing though: When did you ever hear of a donkey speaking a language and, therefore, giving consent? Or do the zoophiliacs suggest that “Eee haw” is chinese for “Yes please”? ‘Mere concepts of morality have no business being law,’ said ZETA chairman Michael Kiok. Just state it is a “lifestyle choice” and demand your “human rights” to make such a choice and hey presto! You get a licence to shag a sheep! But people like Dharmabro (an ex commenter on here) can’t really say anything against it (thereby supporting it) because, as he says “homosexuality is natural and exists in the natural world”. Yes Dharmabro it does. Just as cross species sexual activity does, therefore, that MUST be ok too. You can’t argue with that otherwise your entire reasoning for homosexuality being “natural” is damned – which, by the way, it is. So what we have here is the homosexual community, simply by their own reasoning, support bestiality. It might not be their preference BUT, if they speak out against it, they are hypocrites and, not only that, they are zoo-o-phobes! Now you don’t want to be labeled a “‘phobe” of any type now do you homos? So what’s your way out? I can’t HEAR you! Bestiality What I find strange with this comment re “his once friendly flock of sheep were beginning to shy away from human contact” is that do the new batch of sheep never see the older batch being taken away by humans and slaughtered? Doesn’t it even occur to them? Stupid sheep! But then who are we humans to talk? We ignore the shearing of ourselves by the governmental and banking shepherds. BAAAHH!

“Mere concepts of morality have no business being law”

And there lies the entire problem because, in fact, as has been stated by the lawmakers themselves on many occasions, morality does not enter into it. In fact, lawyers I have personally been up against stated such in their reply saying they believed my argument to be a moral rather than legal one. It was both but, nevertheless, they had the audacity to state it.

The Ram Doctrine

Posted in Law by earthling on February 15, 2014

Your Majesty: Who the fricking hell do you think you are? Because nobody else sure as hell knows!

Tony Benn Crown

There is now plainly a distinction between what the Crown may do in its public or private capacity. Increasingly it may make sense to align that distinction with the distinction between things done by the Crown in its corporate capacity and in the capacity which the monarch now has as an individual. But none of this of itself answers the question of what the Crown may do in its public capacity. Indeed each of these argument may be seen, as Maitland put it, as “a convenient cover for ignorance: it saves us from asking difficult questions”.

Difficult questions indeed. For it seems that, in various circumstances and for various reasons and for various and unlimited capabilities, this “thing” called the “Crown” and this “thing” called “Her Majesty”, while she states that she never breaks the law, it is clear that this is simply because there is no law to touch her. She can decide which “hat” (capacity) she is wearing at anytime to suit herself – and to a lesser extent, to suite her “Agents” which, as you will see here, are her Government Ministers). I’ve stated time and again, that we do not have separate governments when either Tory or Labour take the reigns simply because, they act on behalf of the Crown – Period!

This is a long read and, literally as you will see, it goes into the “metaphysical” realms surrounding what is, in one body, a “natural person”, a “corporate person”, both together, separately and, if she wants to, she may as well be a fcuking lizard! It’s like going to a police line up of a criminal and there’s 4 or 5 of them who all look identical but 4 out of the 5 are actually holograms and only one the real flesh and blood. But you’ve only got one bullet in your gun! Then even if you do hit the right one, it makes no difference because the holographic versions still exist and a proper Charlie takes over the flesh and blood.

You’ll see in this that it is simply a mass of contradiction and shit which the “law” concisely shifts it’s position on to justify whatever actions the Crown takes. When it comes to “The Crown” there actually IS no law because it can sidestep it at every turn.



1. It is now established, at least at the level of the Court of Appeal (so that Court has recently stated)1, that, absent some prohibition, a Government minister may do anything which any individual may do. The purpose of this paper is to explain why this rule is misconceived and why it, and the conception of the “prerogative” which it necessarily assumes, should be rejected as a matter of constitutional law.

2. The suggested rule raises two substantive issues of constitutional law: (i) who ought to decide in what new activities the executive may engage, in what circumstances and under what conditions; and (ii) what is the scope for abuse that such a rule may create and should it be left without legal control.

3. As Sir William Wade once pointed out (in a passage subsequently approved by the Appellate Committee2),

“The powers of public authorities are…essentially different from those of private persons. A man making his will may, subject to any rights of his dependants, dispose of his property just as he may wish. He may act out of malice or a spirit of revenge, but in law this does not affect his exercise of power. In the same way a private person has an absolute power to release a debtor, or, where the law permits, to evict a tenant, regardless of his motives. This is unfettered discretion.”

If a minister may do anything that an individual may do, he may pursue any purpose which an individual may do when engaged in such activities. He may also act just as unfairly or as unreasonably as any individual may do when doing such things. In conducting such activities his discretion will be as unfettered as any individual’s is. Thus, when considering a blacklist policy that the Government had adopted in the 1970s, Sir William stated that3



2 3

“In placing its contracts as and how it wishes the government is exercising the ordinary liberty possessed by anyone (and I hope no one will call it prerogative). The government’s duty not to abuse that liberty is constitutional rather than legal…Unconstitutional, yes; illegal, no.”

See R (Shrewsbury & Atcham BC and Congleton BC) v the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Shropshire CC [2008] EWCA Civ 148 per Carnwath LJ at [44] and [49], per Richards LJ at [72].

See R v Tower Hamlets LBC ex parte Chetnik Developments Ltd [1988] AC 858 at p872. See Constitutional Fundamentals 1989 rev ed at p71.

If a minister may do anything an individual may do, judicial review of the reasonableness of what he does or of the purposes which he may pursue when engaged in such activities ought not to be available.

4. In the decision which is said to have to established the rule, R v the Secretary of Health ex p C4, however, the Court of Appeal accepted that, in doing what any individual may do, a minister may not act unfairly or unreasonably (apparently oblivious of the fact that this also meant that a minister may not do anything that an individual may do). More recently, in R (Shrewsbury & Atcham BC and Congleton BC) v the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and Shropshire CC5, the members of the Court of Appeal were divided on whether ministers may only act “for the public benefit” or for “identifiably governmental purposes”. Richards LJ, whose decision at first instance had been upheld by the Court of Appeal in ex p C, considered (consistently with the supposed rule) that there were no such limitations on the purposes for which a minister may act when doing something that an individual may also do. Carnwath LJ considered that there were such limitations (consistently with the development of public law in providing protection against the abuse of governmental powers).

5. Underlying this disagreement is the other substantive issue of constitutional law that the supposed rule raises. The Crown and ministers have powers for particular purposes which are vested in them by enactment. The Crown is also recognised at common law to have established non-statutory powers for particular purposes (which ministers may exercise as agents of the Crown). The question is: who is to decide in what new activities may ministers engage, in what circumstances and under what conditions? The executive or Parliament? Any rule that, in the absence of some prohibition, a minister may do anything which an individual may do gives that decision to ministers rather than to Parliament.

6. To appraise the justifications offered for this rule, however, it is necessary to consider in what circumstances authority may be required for government action and what the sources of such authority may be. In particular it is necessary to consider what the “prerogative” consists of, as the supposed rule that a minister may do anything that an individual may do can arise


4 5

[2000] 1 FLR 627, [2000] 1 FCR 471, [2000] All ER D 215.



only if Blackstone’s conception of the prerogative, rather than Dicey’s, is adopted.


7. It is said that a Government minister may do anything that any individual may do because that is what the Crown may do. Now, as Maitland famously said6,

“there is one term against which I want to warn you, and that term is ‘the crown’. You will certainly read that the crown does this and the crown does that. As a matter of fact we know that the crown does nothing but lie in the Tower of London to be gazed at by sight-seers…the crown is a convenient cover for ignorance: it saves us from asking difficult questions… do not be content until you know who legally has the power – is it the king, is it one of his secretaries: is this power a prerogative power or is it the outcome of statute?”

8. The assumption that Maitland apparently made was that the only two sources from which ministers might derive a legal power to act were an Act of Parliament or the prerogative. That assumption was explicitly reflected in Dicey’s conception of the prerogative. For Dicey7 the prerogative is

“the name for the residue of discretionary power left at any moment in the hands of the Crown, whether such power be in fact exercised by the King himself or by his Ministers. Every act which the executive government can lawfully do without the authority of an Act of Parliament is done by virtue of this prerogative.”(emphasis added)

9. Dicey’s conception of the prerogative gains added constitutional significance when combined with two further principles of English constitutional law. The first, established in the Case on Proclamations8, is that “the King hath no prerogative, but that which the law of the land allows him.” The second is that new prerogatives cannot be created. As Lord Bingham recently stated9, “over the centuries the scope of the royal prerogative has been steadily eroded


6 7 8 9

The Constitutional History of England CUP 1908 at p418. See The Law of the Constitution (1915) 8th ed p421.
12 Co Rep 74 at 76.

See R (Bancoult) v Foreign Secretary (No 2) [2008] UKHL 955 at [69]. Although Lord Bingham was dissenting in this case, the point of dissent did not relate to this proposition. The Crown has an indisputable prerogative power to enact primary legislation for a ceded or conquered territory and indeed to legislate for citizenship and immigration control in such territories. The issue was whether it was necessary to find a precedent for the exercise of that prerogative power in that specific context in a particular way (as Lord Bingham assumed) or whether the nature of a primary legislative power is not so constrained. See also eg


and it cannot today be enlarged”. The effect of these two principles, when coupled with Dicey’s conception of the prerogative, is two-fold. First any new activity on which the executive wishes to embark in respect of which there is no existing statutory or established prerogative power requires authorisation from an Act of Parliament. It thus imposes Parliamentary control over the executive’s capacity to undertake such new activities. The second effect, since the Crown has no prerogative but that which the law allows, has been to enable the court not only to determine what non-statutory powers the executive has but also, increasingly, to exercise judicial control over any abuse of such powers where the issues are justiciable10.

10. Blackstone’s conception of the prerogative, however, was more limited than Dicey’s. Blackstone thought11 that the term

“can only be applied to those rights and capacities which the King enjoys alone, in contradistinction to others, and not to those which he enjoys in common with any of his subjects; for if once any one prerogative of the crown could be held in common with the subject it would cease to be prerogative any longer.”

Sir William Wade espoused an even more limited conception of the prerogative than Blackstone. He suggested12 that “the two tests for a genuine prerogative power seem to me to be (a) does it produce legal effects at common law and (b) is it unique to the Crown and not shared with other persons?”13. This would have excluded in his view activities which many



11 12 13

per Diplock LJ BBC v Johns [1965] Ch 32 at p79 (“it is 350 years and a civil war too late for the Queen’s courts to broaden the prerogative”); per Lord Reid Burmah Oil v the Lord Advocate [1965] AC 75 at p101 and 108(“the proper approach is a historical one: how was [the prerogative] used in former times and how has it been used in modern times…the prerogative, having been virtually dormant or in abeyance, should not, in my view, be regarded as any wider today than it was three centuries ago”); per Dillon J Attorney-General of the Duchy of Lancaster v GE Overton (Farms) Ltd [1981] Ch 333 at p341 (“the Crown cannot unilaterally extend its prerogative rights. That is a matter for Parliament.”) affd [1982] Ch 277.

The most striking recent illustration is the assertion by the Appellate Committee in R (Bancoult) v Foreign Secretary (No 2) [2008] UKHL 955 that there was “no reason why” the prerogative power to enact primary legislation, and give a constitution to, a conquered or ceded territory “should not be subject to review on ordinary principles of legality, rationality and procedural impropriety in the same way as any other executive action”: per Lord Hoffmann at [35].

Commentaries on the Laws of England Vol1 p239.

HWR Wade “Procedure and Prerogative in Public Law” (1985) 101 LQR 180 at p193.

As Professor Paul Craig has pointed out, ““Professor Wade’s definition of the prerogative was even narrower than Blackstone’s in demanding not only that genuine prerogative powers have the quality of being unique [to the executive and not possessed by ordinary persons], but in stipulating also that they produce legal effects at common law in some immediate sense”: see P. Craig “Prerogative, Precedent and


would regard as exercises of the prerogative, such as the power to appoint and dismiss ministers, to issue passports and even to enter treaties14. But, even if the wider approach that Blackstone endorsed is adopted, it is plain that there are things that ministers may do which are not authorised by statute which ordinary individuals may also do. Given this conception of the prerogative, therefore, unless any such activity is unlawful, there must be some “third source” of authority for government action other than Parliament and the prerogative or no requirement for one15.

11. There are two candidates which have been advanced as the “third source” of authority for government action. The first (and generally preferred) basis is the claim that the Crown is a corporation sole at common law and that such a corporation may itself do anything any individual may do. The second (but less well regarded) basis is that the monarch is Herself an individual and that, as Her agents, ministers of the Crown may, therefore, do anything an individual may do. The alternative theory (which is perhaps even less well regarded) is that there is no need for the Crown to have any source of authority for doing something that any individual may do. The Crown may do it simply because it is not prohibited from doing it.


12. In order to assess the strength of the arguments advanced in support of the contention that the Crown may do anything an individual may do, it is necessary to refer to legal history, if only to understand some of the anachronisms and misconceptions that have confused recent consideration of this contention.

13. That history illustrates that it cannot be inferred that the Crown may do anything an individual may do merely from the fact that the Crown may be recognised as a corporation or


14 15

Power” in C. Forsyth and I. Hare eds The Golden Metwand and the Crooked Cord OUP 1998 at p86.

See Sir William Wade Constitutional Fundamentals 1989 rev ed at p59, 60, 63.

The issues are discussed inter alia in BV Harris “The ‘third source’ of authority for government action” (1992) 108 LQR 626-651; Phillip A Joseph “The Crown as a legal concept” (1993) NZLJ 126-130 (Part I) and 179 (Part II); Lord Lester of Herne Hill and M Weait “The Use of Ministerial Powers without Parliamentary Authority: the Ram doctrine” [2003] PL 415-428; M Cohn “Medieval chains, invisible inks: On non-statutory powers of the executive” (2005) 25 OJLS 97-122; BV Harris “The ‘third source’ of authority for government action revisited” (2007) 123 LQR 225-250; Woolf, Jowell and Le Sueur De Smith’s Judicial Review 6th ed at [5-022]-[5-025]; C Lewis QC Judicial Remedies in Public Law 4th ed at [2-046]-[2-051]; HWR Wade and CF Forsyth Administrative Law 10th ed 2009 at p181-183.


from the fact that Her Majesty is an individual. The attempt to equate the Crown’s powers or capacities with those of other corporations or an individual ignores the fact that in law the Crown is unique. The attempt to infer that the Crown may do anything an individual may do from the absence of any prohibition on such activities also ignores this fact and begs the question it attempts to answer. Nonetheless this historical background does not of itself necessarily show that the suggested rule is wrong. It merely shows that the justifications mainly relied on for it are unpersuasive. What the Crown may do is a question to be answered by reference to more fundamental constitutional considerations.

14. The history relating to the powers of the Crown also illustrates the confusion that results from a failure to distinguish between (a) the capacity in which something may be done, (b) what may be done in that capacity and (c) the legal status of the actor as a corporation or as an individual.

(a) the emergence of the notion of the Crown as a corporation

15. It is, of course, impossible to escape from the fact that the monarch is an individual. But it is sometimes suggested that, even in the medieval period, no distinction was drawn between the monarch and the Crown. That appears to be incorrect16: by the time of the English Civil War, “the distinction..between the office and the person of the king….was many centuries old and known in England”17. But there was an obvious practical impediment to a logical development fully recognising the different capacities, public and personal, in which the monarch might act: the fear of endorsing treason.

16. The distinction between the Crown and the individual who was the monarch for the time being was clearly made in the Declaration of 1308 by the Lords Ordainer. There it had been asserted that:




“Homage and oath of allegiance are more by reason of the Crown than by reason of the King’s person, and are more bound to the Crown than to the person. And that appears from the fact that, before the estate of the Crown has passed by descent, no allegiance is due to the person. Wherefore, if it happen that the king is not guided by reason in regard to the estate of the Crown,

See Ernst H Kantorowicz The King’s Two Bodies Princeton 1957 at p336-383; Michael Prestwich Plantagenet England 1225-1360 OUP 2005 p34-36.

See Ernst H Kantorowicz The King’s Two Bodies Princeton 1957 at p21 footnote 36. 6

his lieges, by oath sworn to the Crown, are justly bound to lead the king back to reason and to repair the estate of the Crown or else their oath would be violated..”18

It appears that reliance on the Declaration of 1308 formed part of the indictment on which the younger Hugh Despenser was tried and subsequently brutally executed in 132119. As the judges stated in Calvin’s Case (1607)20,

“In the reign of Ed. 2. the Spensers, the father and son, to cover the treason hatched in their hearts, invented this damnable and damned opinion, that homage and oath and ligeance was more by reason of the King’s Crown (that is, of his politic capacity), than by reason of the person of the King, upon which opinion they inferred execrable and detestable consequences…All of which were condemned by two Parliaments.”

17. This problem did not mean that no distinction was drawn between the public and personal capacities of the king. As Calvin’s Case itself recognised, by 1607 the courts had themselves recognised that the king had different capacities. As Sir Francis Bacon put it, “it is one thing to make things distinct, it is another to make them separable”; the king’s person and the Crown were “inseparable, though distinct”21. The legal theory through which these distinct things were rendered inseparable was the theory that the king had two bodies, a natural body and a “politic body”. This theory emerges in three cases reported by Plowden in early part of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign22. Maitland said that he did “not know where to look in the whole series of our law books for so marvellous a display of metaphysical – or we might say metaphysiological – nonsense” than these cases23. Thus in one the Judges declared24, for example, that:



19 20 21 22



See Ernst H Kantorowicz The King’s Two Bodies Princeton 1957 at p364-5. The coronation oath in 1307 on Edward II’s accession distinguished between the king and the Crown: ibid at p360.

See Michael Prestwich Plantagenet England 1225-1360 OUP 2005 at p198-9. (1607) 7 Co Rep 1a at 11a-b.
See Ernst H Kantorowicz The King’s Two Bodies Princeton 1957 at p365.

Case of Dutchy of Lancaster (1561) 1 Plow 212 at 213, 75 ER 325 at p326; Willion v Berkeley 1 Plow 223 at p243, 244-5, 250, 75 ER 339 at p370, 374, 383 ; Sir Thomas Wroth’s case (1573) 1 Plow 452 at p457, 75 ER 678 at p685. These cases are discussed in FW Maitland “The Crown as Corporation” (1901) 17 LQR 131-146 (reprinted in Hazeltine, Lapseley and Winfield eds Selected Essays CUP 1936) and Ernst H Kantorowicz The King’s Two Bodies Princeton 1957 at p7-23; see also JWF Allison English Historical Constitution CUP 2007 p50- 54.

FW Maitland “The Crown as Corporation” (1901) 17 LQR 131-146, reprinted in his Selected Essays ed by Hazeltine, Lapseley and Winfield CUP 1936 at p109.

Case of Dutchy of Lancaster (1561) 1 Plow 212 at 213, 75 ER 325 at p326. 7

“to [the monarch’s] natural Body is conjoined his Body politic…and the Body politic includes the Body natural, but the Body natural is the lesser, and with this the Body politic is consolidated. So he has a Body natural, adorned and invested with the Estate and Dignity royal; and he has not a Body natural distinct and divided by itself from the Office and Dignity royal, but a Body natural and a Body politic together indivisible; and these two Bodies are incorporated in one Person, and make one Body and not divers, that is the Body corporate in the Body natural, et e contra the Body natural in the Body corporate.”

18. The point of investing the King with two bodies was to enable the law to recognise the different capacities, public and personal, in which he or she might act whilst not distinguishing between the office and the man (or woman) who held it and in particular to ensure that allegiance was owed to the monarch as an individual, not to the office that he or she held. That emerges clearly from judgment in Calvin’s Case in which it was reaffirmed that allegiance was owed to the monarch as an individual. In that case the Judges recognised that25:

“It is true that the King hath two capacities in him: one a natural body, being descended of the blood Royal of the realm; and this body is of the creation of Almighty God, and is the subject of death, infirmity and such like; the other is a politic body or capacity so called, because it is framed by the policy of man…; and in this capacity the King is deemed to be immortal, invisible, not subject to death, infirmity, infancy, noneage &c. Now, seeing that the King hath but one person and several capacities, and one politic capacity for the realm of England, and another for the realm of Scotland, it is necessary to be considered, to which capacity ligeance is due…..The reasons and cause wherefore by the policy of the law the King is a body politic, are three, viz. 1. causa majestatis, 2 causa necessitatis, and 3. causa utilitatis. First, causa majestatis, the King cannot give or take but by matter of record for the dignity of his person. Secondly, causa necessitatis, as to avoid the attainder of him that hath a right to the Crown..lest in the interim there be an interregnum, which the law will not suffer. Also by force of this politic capacity, though the King be within age, yet he may make leases and other grants, and the same shall bind him; otherwise his revenue shall decay, and the King should not be able to reward service, &c. Lastly, causa utilitatis, as when lands and possessions descend from his collateral ancestors, being subjects, the king, now is the King seised of the same in jure Coronae, in his politic capacity; for which cause the same shall go with the Crown….And these are the causes wherefore by policy of the law the King is made a body politic: so as to these special purposes the law makes him a body politic, immortal and invisible, wheretofore our ligeance cannot appertain.”

19. It was shortly after Calvin’s Case that the judges, when setting out the background in relation to the law on corporations in 1611 in the Case of Sutton’s Hospital, stated “that every corporation or incorporation or body politic or incorporate, which are all one, either stands



See 7 Co Rep 1a at 10a and 12a-b.


upon one sole person, as the King, bishop, parson &c or aggregate of many” and that such incorporation required lawful authority by one of four means, one of which was “by the common law, as the King himself, &”26. This appears to be the first explicit recognition that that the Crown was a corporation sole at common law27. Maitland, who regarded the notion of a corporation sole (which he thought had been developed in relation to ecclesiastical offices28) as a “curious freak of English law”, treated this doctrine as the “parsonification” of the Crown2 9 .

20. The idea that the Crown was a corporation sole, reflecting the statements made in Calvin’s Case and the Case of Sutton Hospital, was repeated by Blackstone in his Commentaries on the Laws of England30. But, as Sir William Holdsworth stated31, these

“speculations as to….the corporate character of the king….remained as complimentary mystifications, not as legal doctrines from which any real deductions were drawn. Though the king was said to be a corporation sole, though he was said never to die, it has been necessary to pass many statutes, from the sixteenth century to the nineteenth, to make it clear that the king can own property in his private capacity as distinguished from his politic capacity, and to prevent ‘all the wheels of the state stopping or even running backwards’ on the demise of the crown.”

Thus, at common law, notwithstanding the recognition of the Crown as a corporation sole, on the death of the reigning monarch Parliament was dissolved, legal proceedings abated and royal commissions, whether civil or military, were abrogated with the effect of rendering


26 27



30 31

See 10 Co Rep 1a at 29b.

In the Case of Magdalen College, Cambridge (1572) 11 Co Rep 66b at 70a the Court had found that an enactment that applied to “any person or persons, bodies politic or corporate” applied to the Queen as She was a person and a body politic. The judges did not say that she was a body corporate as such.

The Dutchy of Lancaster was made a corporation by Act of Parliament in the reign of Edward IV in effect owned by the monarch for the time being in right of the Crown: see Ernst Kantorowicz The King’s Two Bodies Princeton 1957 at p401-2.

FW Maitland “The Crown as Corporation” (1901) 17 LQR 131-146 reprinted in his Selected Essays ed by Hazeltine, Lapseley and Winfield CUP 1936). He had traced the origins of the notion of a corporation sole in an article of that name also reprinted in that collection.

see at i 469-470.
History of English Law Vol 9 p5-6.


subsequent acts of office holders void unless they were reinstated by the succeeding monarch32.

21. Other developments, however, reflected and gave effect to the increasing separation between the monarch’s public and personal capacities. The period after the publication of Blackstone’s Commentaries witnessed the transformation of the King from one who ruled to one who reigned, a transformation reflected (particularly after the Reform Act of 1832) in the vesting of statutory powers in ministers of the Crown, and, associated with that, the transformation of the King from a monarch who was intended to live off his own to one who lived on a salary33. To accommodate this change, detailed statutory provision had to be made, for example, for the monarch to have personal possessions which She may deal with free from controls and restrictions which otherwise govern the Crown Estate and the revenues of the Crown, and which She may dispose of (for example) by will34.

22. This does not mean that the conception of the Crown as a corporation sole was lost from view. Statute brought other corporations sole into line with the Crown in certain respects. Thus, for example, where any property or any interest therein has been vested in “a corporation sole (including the Crown)” it now passes to the successors from time to time of that corporation (unless and until it is otherwise disposed of by the corporation)35. Similarly the fact that the Crown was to be regarded a “corporation sole” as a matter of law was occasionally alluded to subsequently in cases after the Stuart period36. It was restated by Lord Diplock in Town Investments Ltd v the Department of the Environment37. By contrast, however, in that case




Notwithstanding decisions that its operation depended on prior notice and an Act of 1696 suspending the legal consequences of a royal demise for six months after the monarch’s death, this caused particular difficulties in the colonies: see BH McPherson The Reception of English Law Abroad 2007 Supreme Court of Queensland Library at p96-97. For the legal effects of a demise of the Crown: see Halsbury’s Laws of England Vol 12(1) Crown and the Royal Family 4th ed reissue at [15]-[17].

See RC van Caenegem An Historical Introduction to Western Constitutional Law CUP 1995 at p78, 125; FW Maitland The Constitutional History of England CUP 1908 p430-447.

34 See Halsbury’s Laws of England Vol 12(1) Crown and the Royal Family 4th ed re-issue at [65], [67], [68], ibid Crown Property at [355]-[363].


36 37

See section 180(1) of the Law of Property Act 1925. Parliament also provided that, on the demise of the Crown, all property, real and personal, vested in the Crown as a corporation sole devolves on his successor: see section 3(5) of the Administration of Estates Act 1925. Neither provision appears to have changed the position of the Crown substantially: see footnote [56] below.

See some of the cases referred to below. [1978] AC 359 at p384.


Lord Simon thought38 that the Crown

“should be considered as a corporation aggregate headed by the Queen. The departments of state including the ministers at their head (whether or not either the department or the minister has been incorporated) are then themselves members of the corporation aggregate of the Crown.”

The choice between either view was unnecessary for the decision in that case. But, as Lord Woolf subsequently said in re M 39,:

“at least for some purposes, the Crown has a legal personality. It can be appropriately described as a corporation sole or a corporation aggregate…The Crown can hold property and enter into contracts.”

23. Of more significance was the principle which was necessary to the decision in Town Investments Ltd v the Department of the Environment, that (as Lord Diplock put it) “executive acts of government that are done by any [minister] are acts done by ‘the Crown’ in the fictional sense in which that expression is now used in English public law”40. That principle in its application to the exercise of statutory powers was subsequently effectively abandoned by the Appellate Committee as being constitutionally inappropriate, whether the Crown was a corporation sole or a corporation aggregate, in in re M41. In that case the Appellate Committee recognised that what was done in the exercise of a minister’s statutory functions relating to immigration was done in his capacity as a minister, not as an agent for the Crown, and that the minister could be liable in that capacity, and not merely as an individual, for what was done in the discharge of such functions42.

24. By 1998 the position that had been reached, as Halsbury’s Laws then said, was that the practical consequences of the Crown being recognised as a corporation sole to which Crown immunities may also apply (apart from meaning that in law Crown never dies and is not regarded as a minor and that the mention of the monarch in statutes includes his successors)


38 39 40

Ibid at p400.
Ibid at p424.
Ibid at p381; cf Lord Simon at p399-400 (minister is not an entity separate from the Crown).

41 [1994] 1 AC 377; HWR Wade and CF Forsyth Administrative Law 10th ed p40 and footnote 6.


See at p426-7.


were apparently “meagre”43.

(b) the contention that as a corporation the Crown may do anything an individual may do

25. The case which is said to have established shortly afterwards, at least in the Court of Appeal, that, as a corporation sole, the Crown may do anything that an individual may do is R v the Secretary for Sate for Health ex p C44. One issue in that case was whether the Secretary of State had power to maintain a “Consultancy Service Index”, which was a unpublished list of people about whom there were doubts as to their suitability to work with children, which the Secretary of State expected all employers in the child care field to consult before employing anyone. There was then no statutory power for him to maintain such a list. The Court of Appeal held that, as any individual could lawfully have done what the Secretary of State did, maintaining the list was lawful. The Court of Appeal simply followed a statement in a footnote elsewhere in Halsbury’s Laws of England (for which no authority was cited) that “at common law the Crown, as a corporation possessing legal personality, has the capacities of a natural person and thus the same liberties as the individual”45.

26. The basis for this statement46 was Blackstone’s doctrine that there “five powers inseparably incident to every corporation, at least to every corporation aggregate”, the first of which (necessarily and inseparably incident to all corporations in his view) was the power “to sue or be sued, implead or be impleaded, grant or receive, by its corporate name and do all other things as natural persons may”47. The origin for this doctrine appears to be statements in the report of

43 See Halsbury’s Laws of England Vol 12(1) Crown and the Royal Family 4th ed reissue at [7] and footnote 10. This repeated what Sir William Holdsworth had said in an earlier edition.


44 45



[2000] 1 FLR 627, [2000] 1 FCR 471, [2000] All ER D 215.

Ibid at [17] referring to footnote 6 to paragraph [101] to Halsbury’s Laws of England Vol8(2) Constitutional LawandHumanRights4th ed.AtfirstinstanceRichardsJgavenoreasonformakingthesameassertion:see [1999] 1 FLR 1073, [1999] Fam Law 295.

The footnote in Halsbury’s Laws refers to paragraph [6] of the same volume of Halsbury’s Laws which states that “the Crown is a corporation sole or aggregate and so has general legal capacity, including (subject to some statutory limitations and limitations imposed by European law) the capacity to enter into contracts and to own and dispose of property” (emphasis added).

See Commentaries on the Laws of England i.475-6. The two which are possibly inseparably linked only to corporations aggregate were a corporate seal and the power to make by-laws for the better government of the corporation. This doctrine is presumably the basis for the statement in Chitty on Contracts 29th ed Vol 1 at [10-004] that “as a non-statutory corporation sole the contracts of the Crown are not subject to the ultra vires doctrine.


the Case of Sutton’s Hospital about the incidents of incorporation by the Crown48 which do not include the words italicised. It may be doubtful whether this addition was then justified in relation chartered corporations49. However this doctrine, for whatever it may be worth, did not survive the recognition in the nineteenth century that the powers which a statutory corporation created for specific purposes may lawfully use must either be expressly conferred or derived by reasonable implication from the provisions of any relevant enactment50. The doctrine has nonetheless remained the conventional view about chartered corporations51, albeit with the modification that a chartered corporation may be restrained by one of its members from doing anything which its charter does not authorise52. It thus leads to the paradoxical result that a corporation created by statute has less power than one created by an exercise of a prerogative power. But in any event, as the House of Lords held in Hazell v Hammersmith LBC53, “the doctrine applies only to a corporation created by an exercise of the Royal Prerogative”. The Crown is not such a corporation.


48 49





See 10 Co Rep 1a at 30a-31a.

There are, of course, certain subsidiary powers which are normally incident to any person, legal or physical. The nearest the report comes to Blackstone’s doctrine is the statement that, if the charter of incorporation imposes a restraint on alienation or of alienation in a particular form, “that is an ordinance testifying the King’s desire, but it is but a precept, and doth not bind in law”. Generalising from that statement (which may merely reflect contemporary legal restraints on imposing restrictions on alienation such as the statutes relating to mortmain), as Blackstone appears to, so that a corporation can do anything a natural person may regardless of any limitation in its constitution, is an assumption which may not have been justified: see Percy T Cardon “Limitations on the powers of common law corporations” (1910) 26 LQR 320-330.

See per Lord Watson Baroness Wenlock v the River Dee Corporation (1885) 10 App Cas 354 at p362-3; The Ashbury Railway Carriage and Iron Company (Limited) v Riche (1875) LR 7 HL 653

See per Blackburn J and Archibold J (obiter) in Riche v Ashbury Railway Carriage and Iron Company (1874) LR 9 Exch 224 at p263-4 and p292. In consequence the assumption was repeated by other judges subsequently: see eg per Bowen LJ Baroness Wenlock v. River Dee Co (1886) 36 Ch D 675 n, 685n; British South Africa Company v De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited [1910]; per Lord Denning Institution of Mechanical Engineers v Cane [1961] AC 696 at p724-5; Dickson v the Pharmaceutical Society [1970] AC 403 per Lord Upjohn at p434. The assumption also underlay a number of cases dealing with municipal corporations created by Royal Charter under the Municipal Corporations Act 1834. It was found not to be correct in such cases in Hazell v Hammersmith LBC [1992] 1 AC 1.

See Dickson v the Pharmaceutical Society [1970] AC 403 following Jenkin v the Pharmaceutical Society [1921] 1 Ch 392.

[1992] 2 AC 1 at p39. It thus did not apply to a municipal corporation created by royal charter issued pursuant to a statute. Following Bonanza Creek Gold Mining Co. Ltd. v. The King [1916] 1 AC 566, the Appellate Committee held that “where a statute authorises the grant of a Royal Charter, then, the extent of the powers exercisable by a corporation created by a charter granted pursuant to the statute will depend on the true construction and intent of the statute”: see [1992] 2 AC 1 at p41.


27. Any attempt to treat the Crown as if it is like any other corporation is not sustainable54. As Sir Francis Bacon once said55, “the corporation of the Crown utterly differeth from all other corporations within the realm.” Thus the Crown could take personal estate or the benefit of a personal contract even when a corporation sole could not (except by special custom)56. As Littledale J stated in that regard57, “the King is altogether on a different footing from other corporations sole.” Similarly a grant of land had formerly to be made expressly to the corporation sole and his successors, otherwise the actual holder of the office took an estate for life in his personal capacity58. By contrast at common law the monarch could not hold land in his natural capacity (except in the right of the Duchy of Lancaster) and land acquired by the monarch vested in the Crown as a corporation sole59. Unsurprisingly, as Romer J once stated, the Crown differs “in many respects” from other corporations sole60. Indeed, simply looking at Blackstone’s list of powers, which he and the judges in the Case of Sutton’s Hospital thought were necessary incidents of incorporation, the Crown does not generally have the very first powers there mentioned as a matter of English law, the power to be sue and be sued61. As Lord



55 56

It is not obvious that Blackstone himself ever made the attempt. As he said, “corporations sole consist of one person only and his successors, in some particular station, who are incorporated by law, in order to give them some legal capacities and advantages, particularly that of perpetuity, which in their natural persons they could not have had. In this sense the king is a sole corporation..,,the made a corporation to prevent in general the possibility of an interregnum or vacancy of the throne, and to preserve the possessions of the crown entire; for immediately upon the demise of one king, his successor full possession of the regal rights and dignity”: Commentaries on the Laws of England i. 469-470.

Post-nati in J Spedding and DD Heath eds The Works of Sir Francis Bacon 1892 at p667.

For the position generally: see Fulwood’s Case (1598) 4 Co Rep 64b at 65a and Power v Banks [1901] 2 Ch 487 at p495. Accordingly, in the case of other corporations sole, personal estate on death went to the personal representatives, executors or administrators of the holder of a corporation sole (rather than to his successor in that office): see Mirehouse v Rennel (1833) 1 Clark & Finnelly 527 HL. The position of the Crown was different: see Howley v Knight (1849) 14 QB 240 per Coleridge J at p253 and Wightman J at p255; Mirehouse v Rennel supra per Gaselee J at p563 and Baron Bayley at p567 contrasting the position of the Crown. The position is now different for corporations sole generally in consequence of sections 180(1) of the Law of Property Act 1925 and section 3(5) of the Administration of Estates Act 1925 cf per Russell LJ Hayward v Chaloner [1968] 1 QB 107 at p123; Halsbury’s Laws of England Vol 9(2) Corporations 4th ed reissue at footnote 5 to [1248].


by section 60 of the Law of Property Act 1925.
59 See Halsbury’s Laws of England Vol 12(1) Crown and Royal Family 4th ed reissue at [65].

Rennell v the Bishop of Lincoln (1827) 7 B&C 113 at p168, 108 ER 667 at p 686.
58 See Halsbury’s Laws of England Vol 9(2) Corporations 4th ed reissue at [1248]. The position was changed

60 61

See in re Mason [1928] 1 Ch 385 at p402.
Prosecutions and claims for judicial review may be brought in the name of the Crown.


Woolf has pointed out62, “even after the [Crown Proceedings] Act of 1947, [the Crown] cannot conduct litigation except in the name of an authorised government department or, in the case of judicial review, in the name of a minister”. It is also plain that as a matter of English law the Crown lacks the capacity to be sued. Indeed that incapacity led the Court of Appeal at one stage (erroneously) to think that the Crown had no legal personality at all63. There is thus no necessary identity between the capacity of the Crown as a corporation and the capacity of other corporations.

28. Indeed, even the Court of Appeal in R v the Secretary for State for Health ex p C, who thought that ministers (as agents of the Crown regarded as a corporation sole) could do anything that an individual may do, did not accept the logical consequence of that approach. Inconsistently with that approach, but consistently with the development of public law, they also took the view that in that case the Department could not “have an unfettered discretion to operate the list in whatever way it chooses” and, if exercised unreasonably or unfairly, such powers as it thus had would not be lawfully exercised64. On that basis, ministers exercising any powers that the Crown may have as a corporation sole are not free to do anything that an individual is free to do.

29. More crudely what may underlie this approach (and indeed Blackstone’s view of corporations generally) is a view of what having legal personality involves. As it was once put, “in the absence of any superadded disability, legal personality implies the plenary powers of a natural person”65. But this is simply wrong. Statutory corporations, although they are legal persons, do not have “any superadded disability”. Nor do others recognised as having legal personality necessarily have “the plenary powers of a natural person”. For example, the


62 63

64 65

In re M [1994] 1 AC 377 at p424.

See M v the Home Office [1992] QB 270 per Sir John Donaldson at p300-302, 307, per McCowan LJ at p308; In re Pan American World Airways Inc. and others’ application [1992] QB 854, 860. This was found to be an error by the Appellate Committee in M v the Home Office [1994] 1 AC 377 at p424.

Supra at [23]-[24], [28] and [31].

See Phillip A Joseph “The Crown as a legal concept (1)” (1993) NZLJ 126-130 at p126. This is how Underhill J interpreted the decision of the Court of Appeal in R v the Secretary of State for Health ex p C: he thought that in that case the Court of Appeal had thought that the Crown was able to do anything anyone may do as “it was within the powers of the Crown simply by virtue of its having legal personality”: see Shrewsbury & Atcham BC v the Secretary of State for Communities and others [2007] EWHC 2279 (Admin) at [16]. Newman J interpreted the decision of the Court of Appeal in the same way in R v Worcester CC ex p SW [2000] EWHC 392 (Admin) at [22].


councils of London boroughs are not statutory corporations but they have a legal personality recognised by law and can sue and be sued. Yet they have no powers other than those vested in them by enactment66.

30. Seeking to derive the Crown’s powers from those which other corporations may have, or from the recognition that the Crown has legal personality, begs the relevant questions. Treating the Crown as a corporation or as a legal person is a recognition that there is an office which is distinct from the holder of the office for the time being. But of itself that does not reveal anything about what may be done by virtue of that office. Any assumption that the answer to this question is to be found as a matter of constitutional law today by reference to the conception developed in the late sixteenth century of the King’s two Bodies or the incidents of chartered or ecclesiastical corporations at that time or subsequently does not merely display a poor historical understanding, one which fails to recognise that the Crown is unique: it is an attempt to avoid the need for any legal analysis of the constitutional position of the Crown. What may be learnt from the history of the Crown as a corporation is that there is a public and private capacity in which Her Majesty may act which has been progressively recognised. That is reflected, for example, in the Crown Proceedings Act 1947, which does not apply to proceedings by or against “His Majesty in His private capacity”67, and in the legislation giving the Queen private possessions which She may deal with free from controls and restrictions than would otherwise limit what She might do with such revenues and property in her public capacity. But what may be done in each capacity is another question.

(c) the contention that the Crown as a natural person may do anything an individual is free to do

31. Another basis for contending that a government minister may do anything which an individual may do is that the monarch is a natural person and that the minister is merely acting as that individual’s agent.

32. This assertion is frequently made in connection with the Crown’s capacity to contract68. The


66 67 68

See Hazell v Hammersmith LBC [1990] 2 QB 697 CA at p779; [1992] AC 1.

See section 40(1) of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947.

See eg C Turpin Government Contracts 1972 p19; T Dainteth Regulation by Contract: the New Prerogative (1979) 32CLP 42 at p42; Hogg and Monahan Liability of the Crown 3rd ed; ACL Davies The Public Law of Government Contracts OUP 2008 p43.


issue in this area is not whether the Crown has any capacity to enter into contracts – plainly it has. The question is whether it has a power to enter into a contract for any purpose or involving anything that an individual may do because the monarch is a natural person. Moreover, precisely because any person’s powers cannot be enlarged merely by entering into an agreement with others, this assertion about the Crown’s contractual capacity must be parasitic on the more general proposition that the Crown may do anything an individual may do merely because the monarch is a natural person.

33. There are two cases in the Canadian Supreme Court which support this proposition, Verreault & Fils v Attorney General of the Province of Quebec [1977] 1 RCS 41 and Attorney General of Quebec v Labrecque [1980] SCR 1057. In the first, it was simply stated that“Her Majesty is clearly a physical person” who may authorise contracts69. In the second it was stated70 that “the Crown is also the Sovereign, a physical person who, in addition to the prerogative, enjoys a general capacity to contract in accordance with the rule of ordinary law”71.

34. Apart from these two cases in the Canadian Supreme Court, however, it is difficult to find any decisions which purport to decide that this is what gives the Crown its contractual capacity and that this is its contractual capacity72. It is sometimes suggested, for example, that the rule


69 70

Per Pigeon J at p47.

Per Beetz J p1082.

71 It was on the basis of this case that it was stated in HWR Wade and CF Forsyth Administrative Law 9th ed at p792 that “the Crown is free to make contracts (though not to spend money) without statutory authority since it enjoys the powers of a natural person.”


Professor Arrowsmith has argued that “in the field of contract it was held in the Bankers’ Case (which concerned a contract to borrow money) that the Crown had all the powers of a natural person, including the power to enter into contracts. Thus it was concluded that the Crown could make a contract for any purpose without obtaining the approval of Parliament”: see The Law of Public Procurement and Utilities Procurement 2nd ed p40; cf also her Civil Liability and Pubic Authorities (1992) at p7. In fact that case did not involve any such ruling: see the reports of the case at 14 ST 1 and Skinner 602. It involved a suit for failure to pay annuities (which had been granted by letters patent under the great seal) out of Charles II’s hereditary excise. The annuities were payable in respect of moneys which had been borrowed by the Crown to finance a war. It was held that the monarch had such a power of alienation of its own revenues. The case is mainly of significance as it established that a petition of right would lie for breach of contract resulting in unliquidated damages: see Thomas v the Queen (1874) LR 10 QB 31 at p39-44. Holt CJ thought that “the intent and wording of the act [that vested the revenue for an estate in fee] that the king should have a right and liberty of alienating and charging this estate”. Given that, his observation that “it is against the nature of the being of a king that he should have less power than his people” was obiter. He also referred to the


that the Crown has the capacity to enter into any contract which it is not prohibited from entering, expressly or by implication, is illustrated by the decision in New South Wales v Bardolph73. The reference normally made is to the judgment at first instance by Evatt J. He stated obiter that at common law “the King…never seems to have been regarded as being less powerful to enter into contracts than one of his subjects”74. But, in looking at the power of the Crown in Australia, he thought that, to be enforceable, the contract had to be “entered into in the ordinary and necessary course of Government administration”75. In that case it was: it concerned the acquisition of advertising space for the Government Tourist Board. This was not regarded as an irrelevant matter. When the case was heard in the High Court, Dixon J (with whom Gavan Duffy CJ agreed) considered that “no statutory power to make a contract in the ordinary course of administering a recognised part of the government of the State appears to me to be necessary in order that, if made by the appropriate servant, it should become the contract of the Crown, and, subject to the provision of funds to answer it, binding upon the Crown” and that, accordingly in that case, “it is a matter of primary importance that the subject matter of the contract, notwithstanding its commercial character, concerned a recognised and regular activity of Government in New South Wales”76. Similarly, according to Rich J77, “the Crown has a power independent of statute to make such contracts for the public service as are incidental to the ordinary and well recognised functions of Government.” This decision thus recognises the subsidiary nature of a power to contract and requires the primary function in the discharge of which the contract assists to be an established function of government.

35. To base the government’s power to act or to make contracts today, however, on the fact that the monarch is an individual, a “physical person”, may appeal to those whose conception of


73 74 75 76 77

monarch’s need to alienate his revenue in order to borrow in cases of need but there appears to have been no issue about whether the King had power to borrow or whether, if there had been any limitations on it, they might have affected the validity of the letters patent: see 14 ST 1 at p30. This case does not appear to have decided even in 1700 that the Crown may do (and has a contractual capacity to do) anything an individual is free to do by virtue of the fact that the monarch is an individual. The case dates, however, from a different legal era in terms of the use of public revenues (a concept which indeed scarcely existed when the letters patent in that case were granted in 1677). Moneys are now payable out of the National Loans Fund under statutory authority: see section 1(3) National Loans Act 1968.

(1934) 52 CLR 455. see at p475.
see at p474.
See at p508 and 507.

at p496.


government remains feudal. As Lord Diplock has said78,

“the continuous evolution of the constitution of this country [is] from that of personal rule by a feudal landowning monarch to the constitutional monarchy of today; but the vocabulary used by lawyers in the field of public law has not kept pace with this evolution and remains more apt to the constitutional realities of the Tudor or even the Norman monarchy than to the constitutional realities of the 20th century.”

When a minister enters a contract “the act in question is the act of the executive. To talk of that act as the act of the sovereign savours of the archaism of past centuries”79.

36. Of course the monarch may now enter into contracts in Her private capacity but the contracts entered into by ministers in exercising the Crown’s executive powers are not entered into for the monarch as an individual. They are entered into by the executive in Crown’s public capacity. Thus, if Ministers were acting on behalf of the physical person who is the monarch for the time being, it would produce odd and unacceptable consequences. One of the reasons why the Crown was recognised as having a body politic, and thus as being a corporation sole, was to avoid the consequences in terms of a monarch’s incapacity or diminished capacity when a child or otherwise suffering from a disability80. Similarly the public executive capacity in which the monarch acted gave rise to the vesting of real property in the Crown as a corporation sole and to the Crown, unlike other corporations sole, being able to hold personal property and take the benefit of personal contracts81. Treating revenues payable to Exchequer which should not have been obtained by the Crown as having been received by the individual who was the monarch could once have left the person entitled to the money with no claim against the monarch’s successor. The doctrine that the Crown was a corporation sole may have been capable of being invoked to avoid that unjust result82.


78 79 80 81 82

Town Investments Ltd v Department of the Environment [1978] AC 359 at p380.
Per Lord Roskill Council of Civil Service Unions v the Minister for the Civil Service [1985] AC 374 at p417h. see paragraph [18] above.
See paragraph [27] above.

One of the rights of the Crown is to payment as bona vacantia of the personal estate of an intestate who leaves no next of kin to the Treasury Solicitor and thus (under the arrangements for the Civil List) into the Exchequer. In one case the Treasury Solicitor, acting as nominee for the Crown and for the use and benefit of His Majesty, having obtained letters of administration, in error (as there were in fact such kin) paid an intestate’s estate to the King’s Proctor and it was received on behalf of George III. In Attorney General v Kohler (1861) IX HLC 654 the House of Lords held that a subsequent Treasury Solicitor would not have been liable for the error of his predecessor but for an admission of liability. However, although there had


37. Moreover treating contracts made by the Crown as if they were made by the physical person who is the monarch would also produce ludicrous results in terms of the relations between the different territories in respect of which executive power is vested in the Queen. As the judges in Calvin’s Case stated, the King had several “politic” capacities, one for England and one for Scotland. Further the Crown became “separate and divisible” in relation to different overseas territories in right of which the monarch was Head of State so that inter alia the debts incurred by the Crown in respect of one territory were not the debts of the Crown in another83. An agreement between the governments of two separate territories would plainly be an agreement between two different legal persons even though the executive power may be vested in each territory in Her Majesty84. Each such legal person may be described as a corporation sole. But what would make no sense would be to describe such an agreement as one in respect of which each party was the same physical person.

38. Despite its peculiarity, what that doctrine of the King’s two Bodies (and the cases) recognised was that the Crown had two capacities which needed to be distinguished in each territory in respect of which the government was the Queen’s: public and private. As Thomas




not been full argument, Lord Cranworth expressed the view obiter that, although the Crown is a corporation sole, Queen Victoria (like others who may be a corporator sole) could not be liable for money paid in error to, and spent by, a predecessor (a view also shared by Lord Chelmsford): see at p671-3, 687-8. A subsequent attempt in in re Mason [1928] Ch 385 to make the Crown liable in a similar case foundered on a defence of limitation. But Romer J (again obiter) thought that the Crown should have been liable on the basis that the money was received by it as a corporation sole, thus providing a remedy for money wrongly received as public revenues. Romer J also thought that the analogy drawn by Lord Cranworth between the Crown and other corporations sole was “a false analogy” as in the case of devolution of property on death “the Crown differs from most other corporations sole…It differs, too, in many other respects”: see at p402.

See Attorney-General v Great Southern and Western Ry. Co. of Ireland [1925] AC 754, at p773-4, 779; Tito v Waddell (No 2) [1977] Ch 106 at p231-2; R v Foreign Secretary ex p Indian Association of Alberta and others [1982] QB 892 CA at p916-8, 920-3, 928-33. Thus the Crown Proceedings Act 1947 does not apply in respect of any proceedings in respect of any liability of the Crown arising otherwise than in respect of His Majesty’s Government in the United Kingdom or the Scottish Administration: see section 40 of the Crown Proceedings Act 1947. Within the United Kingdom, the position that property, rights and liabilities may be held by the Crown in right of different areas is reflected in section 99 of the Scotland Act 1998 and section 89 of the Government of Wales Act 2006.

This is supported by the decision in In re Holmes (1861) 2 J&H 527 where the suppliants invoked the jurisdiction of the English Courts to determine a dispute about land in Canada vested in Her Majesty on the ground that She was physically present in the United Kingdom. As Sir William Page said at p543, “it is said that the Queen is present here, and therefore amenable (by virtue of the recent Act) to the jurisdiction of this Court. But it would be at least as correct to say that, as the holder of Canadian land for the public purposes of Canada, the Queen should be considered as present in Canada, and out of the jurisdiction of this Court. This alone supplies a sufficient answer to the argument of the suppliants.”


Hobbes put it, “the distinction between natural and politick Capacity…is good: For natural capacity, and politick Capacity signifie no more than private and public right”85. Thus, as Lord Diplock stated86,

“to use as a metaphor the symbol of royalty, “the Crown,” was no doubt a convenient way of denoting and distinguishing the monarch when doing acts of government in his political capacity from the monarch when doing private acts in his personal capacity, at a period when legislative and executive powers were exercised by him in accordance with his own will.”

There is no convincing reason why constitutional law should approach what the Crown may do as if the constitution was at an even earlier stage in its evolution when it could not be said that there was a constitutional monarchy. Reflecting that development, what the Crown does (with the exception of the monarch’s private acts in Her personal capacity) should be treated as being done by the Crown in its public, institutional capacity, not by a physical person, but rather (if so desired) by the Crown as a corporation sole. Treating what the government may do as being done by the physical person who is the monarch is antiquarianism masquerading as contemporary legal analysis.

39. But, even if what the Crown does in its public capacity should be regarded as being done by the physical person who is the monarch, it simply begs the question to assume that when acting in that capacity the monarch may do anything that an individual may do. The monarch is not able to do everything that an individual may do. The monarch cannot sue or be sued. After an individual becomes the monarch, that individual cannot not acquire real property and dispose of it by will as he or she chooses as an ordinary individual may (other than in the exercise of the statutory powers referred to above), as land which the monarch acquires is vested in the Crown as a corporation sole. The physical person who is the monarch cannot disclaim contracts made while a minor. Indeed in its public capacity the Crown has seemingly been incapable of employing servants on terms which did not make them dismissible at will. It is thus wrong, and almost on a par with the “meta-physiological” confusions that beset the doctrine of the King’s two Bodies, to assert that “when the institutional crown evolved as a legal concept, kingship imported to it all the natural gifts and endowments of human




Thomas Hobbes ed J Cropsey A Dialogue between a Philosopher and a Student of the Common Laws of England 1971 Univ of Chicago Press at p162.

Town Investments Ltd v Department of the Environment [1978] AC 359 at p380. 21

personality”8 7 .

40. There is a fundamental problem, therefore, with trying to answer the question of what ministers may do by reference to what a corporation sole or an individual may do88. It is to seek an answer by equating the Crown with something else ignoring the legal fact that the Crown is unique.

(d) the theory that it is the absence of a prohibition that gives the Crown freedom to act

41. The final basis which has been suggested for the rule that the Crown may do anything that any individual may do is radically different. It disclaims the need to find any source of authority for that freedom. It is said to be sufficient that the Crown is not prohibited from doing something. This appears to be what is sometimes called the “Ram doctrine”, named after a memorandum by the then First Parliamentary counsel, Sir Granville Ram, in November 1945, that “a Minister may do anything that he is not precluded from doing”89.

42. If there is any legal basis for this approach it rests on a particular conception of what in law constitutes a power. As Sir William Wade put it “legal ability to alter people’s rights, duties or status under the laws of this country which the courts of this country enforce”90; “power in the legal sense means doing something which can have an effect on


87 88



See Phillip A Joseph The Crown as a legal concept II (1993) NZLJ 179 at p179-180.

See eg G Winteron The Prerogative in novel situations (1983) 99 LQR 407 at p409: “deriving from the fact that the monarch is a natural person as well as a corporation sole, unless the common law or statute provides to the contrary, the executive can do whatever private citizens can do, and that is whatever is not legally forbidden to them.” This contention has the added obscurity of envisaging unspecified common law prohibitions on the executive doing what a private citizen may do. But this obscurity should not conceal the fact that the formulation involves a recognition that the proposition that the executive may do whatever a private citizen may do is untrue and that the equation of the Crown’s powers with those of an individual, whether derived from the comparison with the powers of a corporation sole or a natural person is false.

The Memorandum was reprinted as an Annex to Appendix 3 to the Eighth Report of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments. Craies on Legislation 9th ed 2008 contains a series of Parliamentary Questions on this doctrine by Lord Lester of Herne Hill and answers given by the then Parliamentary Secretary in the Lord Chancellor’s Department, Baroness Scotland of Asthal in 2003 at p885-889. In those answers she sought to base this doctrine on the Crown’s status as a corporation sole: see p886. As Lord Lester subsequently pointed out in”The use of ministerial powers without Parliamentary authority: the Ram Doctrine” [2003] PL 415 at p420, Sir Grenville Ram, unlike Baroness Scotland, did not rely on the Crown’s status as a corporation sole as the legal justification for his views.

See Constitutional Fundamentals 1989 rev ed at p58. 22

someone’s legal position”91. It is this conception of a power which underlay his restricted conception of the prerogative92. On this view there is a fundamental distinction to be drawn between the capacity, freedom or liberty to do something, and the powers of the Crown and indeed those of any other person. On this basis “the Crown’s natural capacities are not legally powers” and it is important to make that distinction (so one of its advocates stated) since “the truth is that, once the Crown’s natural capacities (liberties/freedoms) are committed to the legal categories of ‘powers’, it becomes relevant to ask the source of those powers, and perforce to deny any exist”93.

43. The theory that there is a marked distinction between a person’s legal capacity and his legal powers implies implausibly that a person has a capacity or legal ability to do what he has no legal power to do. But the conception of a legal power on which this approach rests is not merely implausible: it is false. There are innumerable enactments enabling statutory bodies to do things that individuals are free to do, such as providing financial assistance to others and disposing of property. No one has the slightest difficulty in recognising such enactments as conferring the legal power to do such things on the statutory bodies concerned. Similarly there is nothing linguistically improper in describing the Crown’s capacity to issue passports, to bind the United Kingdom in international law or to request the extradition of an offender from a State with whom the United Kingdom has no treaty94 as legal powers it has, even though those powers do not alter anyone’s rights, duties or status as a matter of domestic law. Indeed Blackstone in the passage dealing with the powers inseparably incident to a corporation regarded the ability to do all things as a natural person may as one of those powers.

44. This attempt to base the Crown’s ability to do anything that an individual may do if it is not prohibited from doing it on its legal capacity rather than on any powers that it may have also shares the same fundamental difficulty as the other attempts considered above based on the status of the Crown as a corporation and on the fact that the monarch is a natural person. It begs the relevant question about what legal capacity the Crown has when acting in a public

91 Letter to the Times May 18th 1989 quoted in BV Harris “The ‘third source of authority’ for government action” (1992) LQR 626 at p645.


92 93 94

See paragraph [10] above.
See Phillip AJ Joseph “The Crown as a legal concept II” (1993) NZLJ 179 at p181-2.

Cf Barton v Commonwealth [1974] HCA 20; (1974) 131 CLR 477; Oates v Attorney-General (Cth) [2003] HCA 21; 214 CLR 496.


capacity. This argument has necessarily to assume that the Crown has a “natural” legal capacity which is identified by equating that capacity with that which any natural person has. This argument again thus ignores the fact that legally the Crown is unique. Quite apart from any statutory powers, its legal capacity is, for example, by virtue of its prerogative powers (even on the definitions suggested by Blackstone and Sir William Wade) and its immunities, quite unlike the legal capacity of anyone else.

45. The most notorious case that may be said to support the approach that a minister may do anything that he is not prohibited from doing is Malone v the Metropolitan Police Commissioner95. It is doubtful whether the decision in that case in fact supports that conclusion. The case concerned the legality of recordings of telephone conversations by the Post Office for use by the police in the prevention or detection of crime. Section 80 of the Post Office Act 1969 provided that a requirement could be laid on the Post Office to do what was necessary to inform designated persons holding office under the Crown concerning matters and things transmitted, or in the course of transmission, by means of postal or telecommunications services “for the like purposes and in the like manner as, at the passing of this Act” (which made the Post Office a statutory corporation), a similar requirement could have been laid on the Postmaster General. How that requirement could have been imposed was also revealed by another provision of the 1969 Act which provided a defence to various offences of disclosure by employees of the Post Office if the act “was done in obedience to a warrant under the hand of the Secretary of State”. As Sir Robert Megarry found, therefore, in the 1969 Act itself “Parliament has provided a clear recognition of the warrant of the Home Secretary as having an effective function in law, both as providing a defence to certain criminal charges, and also as amounting to an effective requirement for the Post Office to do certain acts”96. In other words the 1969 Act assumed that the Home Secretary had power to issue a warrant imposing the relevant requirement and the enactments could not be given effect without giving effect to that assumption. Accordingly, whether or not the assumption was correct, the 1969 Act gave it legal effect97.

46. What gives the judgment its notoriety, however, was a reason Sir Robert Megarry gave for


95 96 97

[1979] Ch 344.
See [1979] Ch 344 at p370c-372c with the conclusion at p372b-c.
Cf Birmingham Corporation v West Midlands Baptist Trust [1970] AC 874 per Lord Reid at p898.


rejecting the contention that telephone tapping was unlawful as there was no authority conferred to undertake it. As he put it,

“The underlying assumption of this contention, of course, is that nothing is lawful that is not positively authorised by law. As I have indicated, England is not a country where everything is forbidden except what is expressly permitted. One possible illustration is smoking. I inquired what positive authority was given by the law to permit people to smoke. Mr. Ross-Munro accepted that there was none; but tapping, he said, was different…I do not find this argument convincing…Neither in principle nor in authority can I see any justification for this view, and I reject it. If the tapping of telephones by the Post Office at the request of the police can be carried out without any breach of the law, it does not require any statutory or common law power to justify it: it can lawfully be done simply because there is nothing to make it unlawful.”

47. In fact these observations were avowedly obiter dicta since the only telephone tapping in issue in that case was pursuant to a Home Office warrant with which the Post Office was required by statute to comply and Sir Robert Megarry’s decision was expressly limited to that98. Insofar as this case sheds any light on the Crown’s capacity when the Post Office was not a statutory corporation, however, the light thus cast is in fact against these dicta. Section 80 of the Post Office Act 1969 indicated that the Home Secretary’s capacity to require crown servants to do as he wanted in this respect was not the same as any other employer (assuming that such an analogy was possible): his requirement had to be expressed in a particular manner and could only be imposed for certain purposes. It is thus unsurprising that Taylor J (as he then was) was subsequently prepared in R v the Home Secretary ex p Ruddock99 to consider on an application for judicial review whether a warrant issued by the Home Secretary had been issued for an improper purpose or whether no reasonable person could have thought that its issue fell within the guidelines which the Home Secretary had promulgated for issuing such warrants.

48. The notion that Government ministers may do anything which there is no law prohibiting them from doing and that the search for any authority to do any such thing is misconceived has attracted others100. In particular Hobhouse LJ (as he then was) based his dissenting judgment


98 99 100

See [1979] Ch 344 at p382h-383b, 383h-384c.

[1987] 1 WLR 1482.

See eg per Griffiths CJ Clough v Leahy (1904) 2 CLR 139 at p157. Both Mason and Brennan JJ disowned the analogy he drew between an individual’s freedom to make any enquiry he chooses and the Crown’s power to conduct inquiries in Victoria v Australian Building Construction Employees’ and Builders Labourers


on it when dealing with criminal injuries compensation in the Court of Appeal in R v the Home Secretary ex Fire Brigades Union101. But, by contrast, both members of the majority and those who dissented in the Appellate Committee in that case considered that payment of such compensation was something which ministers were authorised to do by virtue of the prerogative (even though any individual might pay such compensation) and was thus a power which was capable of being unlawfully abused, although they disagreed on whether it had been102.

(e) conclusion

49. The justifications mainly relied on for the alleged rule that the Crown may do anything that an individual may do are unpersuasive. It cannot be inferred that the Crown may do anything an individual may do merely from the fact that the Crown may be recognised as a corporation or from the fact that Her Majesty is an individual. The attempt to equate the Crown’s powers or capacities with those of other corporations or of an individual ignores the fact that in law the Crown is unique. Similarly the attempt to infer that the Crown may do anything an individual may do from the absence of any prohibition on such activities also ignores this fact and begs the question it attempts to answer. There is now plainly a distinction between what the Crown may do in its public or private capacity. Increasingly it may make sense to align that distinction with the distinction between things done by the Crown in its corporate capacity and in the capacity which the monarch now has as an individual. But none of this of itself answers the question of what the Crown may do in its public capacity. Indeed each of these argument may be seen, as Maitland put it, as “a convenient cover for ignorance: it saves us from asking difficult questions”.


101 102

Federation (1982) 152 CLR 25 at p89 and p156-7. In neither case, however, was it necessary to decide whether the source of the power to hold an inquiry to obtain information for public purposes was a prerogative power or simply a freedom to do something anyone might do: see per Gibbs CJ ibid at [17].

See [1995] 2 AC 513 at p531b-c, 533f, 534h-535b.

Ibid per Lord Browne-Wilkinson at p549e-g, 554a-h, Lord Nicholls at p573g, 578b-c; Lord Keith (diss) at p545a-h, 546d-e; Lord Mustill (diss) at p561c-d, 564g-565a. Lord Lloyd also recognised that the power to pay compensation involved an exercise of the prerogative but did not decide the case on the basis that it had been abused: see p573c-d.



(a) the nature and importance of the issue

50. In a written answer on February 25th 2003, responding to a question from Lord Lester of Herne Hill about the circumstances in which, and the number of occasions on which, Ministers of the Crown and their departments had relied upon the Ram doctrine as the legal basis for the exercise of their public powers, the then Parliamentary Secretary in the Lord Chancellor’s Department, Baroness Scotland of Asthal, said that:

“During the past five years, as in previous periods, the common law powers of the Crown have often been relied upon as the legal basis for government action. Common law powers form the basis of such governmental actions as entering into contracts, employing staff, conveying property and other management functions not provided for by statute expressly or by implication. To require parliamentary authority for every exercise of the common law powers exercisable by the Crown either would impose upon Parliament an impossible burden or produce legislation that simply reproduced the common law.”

51. This was a carefully crafted answer. The only specific examples provided of the activities which the “common law” powers of the Crown are said to justify are examples of activities falling within the subsidiary powers which are ordinarily incidental to the discharge of, and thus implied by, the primary powers which a person may have. The legal issue concerns such primary powers. No one has suggested that the Crown’s primary powers are limited to such statutory powers as Her Majesty may have. There are also established “prerogative” powers authorising primary activities – whether those powers fall within the definition of the prerogative given by Blackstone or within that given by Dicey such as (for example) bounties by way of redress of hardship. The issue concerns new primary activities which are not authorised by such an established non-statutory power and who is to decide whether, and if so, in what circumstances and on what terms the executive may engage in them.

52. It is obviously true that finding that the Crown may do anything an individual may do does not mean that it can interfere with the rights or property of others, use force or change the law. But such a rule would still give the executive substantial powers in practice, powers that it may abuse. It would enable the executive (for example) to spend money, to provide others with financial assistance, goods or services, to deploy or use property103 and other resources, obtain



Disregarding for this purpose the Crown Estate which is under the management of the Crown Estate


any information and seek to persuade others to do things in just the same way and for the same purposes as anyone else may. No doubt there are nonetheless some limitations on what the executive may thus do. These may arise by virtue of statutory prohibitions, express or implied. Thus a minister may not act incompatibly with an individual’s Convention rights or with European law or with the proper discharge of his own statutory functions. Ministers must also obtain authority for any sums required to be taken out of the Consolidated Fund. But the issue of what ministers may do is important as a matter of constitutional law. The question may have had more limited practical significance when the monarch was dealing with his own limited resources; taxation was less frequent and lighter; and the institutions and functions of government were less extensive. But the legal issue inevitably becomes of more significance practically as the resources and capabilities at the disposal of the executive, and its role in economic life, have expanded. It is now, as Lord Nicholls has said104, “a difficult question with far-reaching constitutional implications”.

(b) the scope for abuse of unfettered power

53. English public law has traditionally been concerned with limiting the scope for abuse of powers that public authorities may have. The prerogative was once regarded as immune from that concern. The courts would consider the existence and extent of any prerogative power claimed but not the propriety of its exercise. But that immunity from judicial review of any abuse of such a power was recognisably lost as a result of the GCHQ case in 1984105.

54. The claim that the Crown may do anything an individual may do logically involves a claim that Ministers have an unfettered discretion in doing such things. But, as Sir William Wade once pointed out (in a passage subsequently approved by the Appellate Committee106),

“The powers of public authorities are…essentially different from those of private persons… a public authority [must act] reasonably and in good faith and upon lawful and relevant grounds






See Council of Civil Service Unions and others v the Minister for the Civil Service [1985] AC 374 at p397g- 400d, 407a-g, 409b-d, 411c-h, 414c-415c, 416c-419c, 423h-424b; R (Bancoult) v the Foreign Secretary [2008] UKHL 61, [2008] 3 WLR 955, at [35], [71], [105], [120], [162] et seq.

See R v Tower Hamlets LBC ex parte Chetnik Developments Ltd [1988] AC 858 at p872. 28

See R (Hooper) v the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2005] UKHL 29, [2005] 1 WLR 1681, at [5]-

of public interest. Unfettered discretion is wholly inappropriate to a public authority, which possesses powers solely in order that it may use them for the public good”.

Indeed the existence of the tort of misfeasance in public office is itself a refutation of any theory that there is no legal difference in the ways in which individuals and public authorities may act.

55. Unsurprisingly, therefore, the courts have been willing to review the propriety of things which the executive has done which an ordinary individual may also do. Indeed the GCHQ case, which concerned the terms upon which persons were to be offered employment by the Crown at that establishment, is just such a case as are cases about the dismissal of civil servants and of members of the armed forces107. Thus, for example the courts have been prepared to review a number of activities which ministers have undertaken which any individual may also do to ascertain whether there has been an abuse of power, for example in relation to the payment (or non-payment) of compensation under schemes for domestic criminal injuries108, overseas criminal injuries109; miscarriages of justice and wrongful arrest110 and for imprisonment by the Japanese during the last World War111 . Even when the Court of Appeal held in R v the Secretary of State for Health ex p C that the Crown, as corporation sole, could do anything any individual may do, it nonetheless held (oblivious of this obvious contradiction) that the court could find that what it did was unlawful as an abuse of power112.

56. It may nonetheless be asked whether the assertion that what a minister thus does is subject to judicial review on ordinary grounds is sufficient to prevent the abuse of power against which judicial review may normally afford protection. In this respect, the crucial problem concerns how the purposes which a minister may or may not pursue, and how what may be


107 108

109 110



See Ministry of Defence v Smith [1996] QB 517.
See R v CICB ex p Lain [1967] 2 QB 864; R v CICB ex p Ince [1973] 1 WLR 1334; R v CICB ex p P [1995] 1

WLR 845; R v Home Secretary ex p Fire Brigades Union [1995] AC 513.

See R v the Ministry of Defence ex p Walker [2000] 1 WLR 806 HL.

See In re McFarland [2004] UKHL 17, [2004] 1 WLR 1289; R (Mullen) v the Home Secretary [2004] UKHL 18, [2005] 1 AC 1 per Lord Bingham at [12] indicating that the grounds for review were not as narrow as suggested in R v the Home Secretary ex p Harrison [1988] 3 All ER 86.

Gurung v the Ministry of Defence [2002] EWHC 2463 (Admin) (military scheme); R (ABCIFER) v the Defence Secretary [2003] EWCA Civ 473 (civilian scheme).

See R v the Secretary of State for Health supra. 29

a legally irrelevant consideration, can be identified.

57. The purposes which a minister may pursue when exercising a statutory power and the considerations that may be relevant to its exercise are to be identified by construing the relevant statute113. In the case of a prerogative power, its extent and purpose is normally clear from its nature. But a power to do anything that an individual may do is not limited by reference to any purpose. Lord Bridge even thought that that meant that it would not even be possible to assess whether or not its exercise was unreasonable114.

58. None of this means that, if the Crown may do anything that an individual may do, judicial review is not available. It may still be available if what is done involves unfairness or an unjustified breach of a legitimate expectation. It may also be available on the ground of irrationality if the means adopted to meet the objective a minister may have chosen to pursue has no reasonable justification115. But any assumption that the Crown may do anything an individual may do leaves a minister free to pursue whatever purposes an individual may. But those may be purposes which no court would accept as being proper in the context of any



See eg per Lord Bridge R v Environment Secretary Ex p. Hammersmith LBC [1991] 1 AC 521 at p597 (“If the court concludes, as the House did in the Padfield case [1986] AC 997, that a minister’s exercise of a statutory discretion has been such as to frustrate the policy of the statute, that conclusion rests upon the view taken by the court of the true construction of the statute which the exercise of the discretion in question is then held to have contravened. The administrative action or inaction is then condemned on the ground of illegality. Similarly, if there are matters which, on the true construction of the statute conferring discretion, the person exercising the discretion must take into account and others which he may not take into account, disregard of those legally relevant matters or regard of those legally irrelevant matters will lay the decision open to review on the ground of illegality.) and per Lord Nicholls R v Secretary of State ex p Spath Holme [2001] 2 AC 349 at p (“the purpose for which a power is conferred, and hence its ambit, may be stated expressly in the statute. Or it may be implicit. Then the purpose has to be inferred from the language used, read in its statutory context and having regard to any aid to interpretation which assists in the particular case. In either event, whether the purpose is stated expressly or has to be inferred, the exercise is one of statutory interpretation.”)

As he put it about non-statutory advice in Gillick v West Norfolk and Wisbeach Area Health Authority [1986] AC 112 at p192-3, “Such a review must always begin by examining the nature of the statutory power which the administrative authority whose action is called in question has purported to exercise, and asking, in the light of that examination, what were, and what were not, relevant considerations for the authority to take into account in deciding to exercise that power. It is only against such a specific statutory background that the question whether the authority has acted unreasonably, in the Wednesbury sense, can properly be asked and answered.”

See R (ABCIFER) v Defence Secretary [2003] EWCA Civ 473, [2003] QB 1397, at [40]. 30



statutory power116.

59. The difficulty inherent in the court’s contradictory approach may be illustrated by the disagreement between Carnwath LJ and Richards LJ in Shrewsbury & Atcham BC and another v the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government117. This case concerned the Secretary of State’s consideration of proposals to replace two-tier local government in some parts of the country with unitary authorities. There was a statutory procedure for achieving this in the Local Government Act 1992 which was to be conducted under the auspices of the Electoral Commission and the Boundary Committee for England. The Secretary of State decided to implement a new simplified procedure before Parliament changed the legislation, involving local authorities and the public but without this independent element, recognising that its outcome could only be implemented once the existing legislation had been replaced. By the time the case reached the Court of Appeal the question whether the Secretary of State could have done any of this before the legislation was changed had become academic as new statutory provisions which had by then been enacted specifically allowed what had been done before the new legislation was enacted to be taken into account under it.

60. Bound as the Court was (as it considered itself to be) to find that the Secretary of State has all the powers of a natural person, Carnwath LJ nonetheless thought that118,

“as a matter of capacity, no doubt, [the Crown] has power to do whatever a private person can do. But as an organ of government, it can only exercise those powers for the public benefit and for identifiably ‘governmental’ purposes within limits set by the law.”

By contrast Richards LJ thought119 that it was
“unnecessary and unwise to introduce qualifications along the lines of those suggested by



117 118


For example, an individual may pay others for services or support they may provide to the political party whose members currently form the Government; an individual may prefer to employ members of the political party of which he is a member; and an individual may not to allow others to use his property or may refuse to assist others for such idiosyncratic reasons as he may choose. But, if the ministers may do such things for such purposes as individual may do, why would they not be lawful?

[2008] EWCA Civ 148.

See at [48]. He considered that he was bound, as he said at [44], by R v Secretary of State ex p C supra to hold that the Crown had all the powers of a natural person.

See at [74].


Carnwath LJ…to the effect that [such powers] can only be exercised ‘for the public benefit’ or for ‘identifiably ‘governmental’ purposes”. It seems to me that any such limiting principle would have to be so wide as to be of no practical utility or would risk imposing an artificial and inappropriate restriction upon the work of government.”

As Waller LJ put it120,

“The question is thus whether there should be an ability to challenge as unlawful an action taken “not for the public benefit” or which has not been taken for identifiably governmental purposes”.”

61. This disagreement illustrates the fundamental incompatibility with public law as it has developed of the notion that the Crown may do anything a natural person may do. The position Richards LJ adopted is logically consistent with that notion but it only achieves such consistency by having to abandon any notion of an improper purpose in this context. By contrast Carnwath LJ’s approach is consistent with the modern development of public law that public powers are not unfettered but it is in substance inconsistent with the notion that the Crown may do anything which a natural person may do.

62. Carnwath LJ’s judgment also shows the difficulty of formulating some general criterion by reference to which the legality of what ministers may do may be assessed, independently of any recognised powers which they may have for specific purposes. Rather than seeking to define in general terms a limitation on the purposes for which the executive may act, such purposes may be identified less idiosyncratically by seeking to ascertain (in accordance with the court’s normal approach to prerogative powers) what powers it is established that the Crown has. These are more clearly limited by purposes such as the relief of individual hardship in certain cases arising (for example) from the operation of prize courts and criminal justice system or from criminal activities121.


120 121

See at [80].

It may be thought that the problem of the purposes the executive may pursue might be eased by referring to Appropriation Acts which limit the purposes for which money drawn from the Consolidated Fund may be used. It would certainly be unlawful to use such money for other purposes. But resort to an Appropriation Act is no solution for the fundamental difficulty. It is simply concerned with the use of such funds. Not all activities by the executive which a natural person may also undertake will involve a specific allocation of such funds and such an allocation cannot retrospectively render lawful or unlawful what may have been done before any appropriation which, as explained below, may come later.


63. When the Court of Appeal in R v the Secretary of State ex p C held that the rule is that a minister may do anything that an individual may do but that what he thus does is unlawful if it involves an abuse of that power, it was in reality recognising that the rule it propounded was inconsistent with public law as it has developed in this country. Moreover the inconsistency which it apparently unconsciously embraced conceals the scope for abuse of such powers that the approach overall retains by leaving the purposes for which a minister may act at large. No doubt the scope for abuse of such powers as the executive thus retains is limited to some extent by the requirements to act compatibly with Convention rights, to comply with EU law in the procurement of goods works and services and to comply with obligations imposed by enactments relating to discrimination in the discharge of public functions. But those requirements (which themselves recognise the difference between public authorities and others) do not eliminate the scope for possible abuse, any more than they do with other public authorities. Whilst it may be possible to limit the scope for abuse by requiring the executive to show (a) that the nature of the activity it wishes to undertake is a “governmental” activity and (b) that it is being undertaken for a public, governmental purpose, such limitations are inherently vague (and would appear to replicate some of the difficulties, discussed below, encountered in defining the “executive power” which is conferred in written constitutions). No doubt such limitations are to be preferred, despite their vagueness, to their absence. But there is no need to resort to them if the executive is only recognised as having such powers which may be exercised for such purposes as have already been established (as the approach in New South Wales v Bardolph might suggest).

(c) who ought to decide what activities the executive may engage in

i. the democratic answer to the issue of institutional competence

64. As Professor Paul Craig has shown, “the leading cases on the prerogative were concerned with the balance of power as between the Crown and Parliament…the judicial focus was concerned with demarcating the respective spheres of competence of Crown and Parliament”1 2 2 .

65. The corollary of the rules, that “the King hath no prerogative, but that which the law of the



P Craig “Prerogative, Precedent and Power” in CF Forsyth and I Hare eds The Golden Metwand and the Crooked Cord OUP 1998 p65-89 at p65, 66.


land allows him”and that new prerogatives cannot be created, is that only Parliament may authorise the executive to undertake activities which do not fall within an established prerogative. The effect of defining the prerogative in the limited manner in which Blackstone did and recognising a rule that the Crown may undertake any new activity which any individual may undertake is thus to give the executive, not Parliament, the competence to decide in which such new activities the executive should be able to engage, in what circumstances and on what conditions. It is hardly consistent with the approach adopted by the courts in the seventeenth century, much less the democratic principle which our constitutional law now embraces, for the courts to recognise any such executive competence.

ii. how freedom for ministers to do anything an individual may do fits within modern constitutional law (apart from the question of abuse of power)

66. Recognition of a rule that the Crown may do anything an individual may do would also sit uneasily with the way in which constitutional law has evolved reflecting the principle that new executive powers should be derived from authority to undertake them granted by Parliament.

67. As Maitland pointed out as early as 1887, given the volume of legislation vesting statutory powers in ministers since 1832, “we can no longer say that the executive power is vested in the king: the king has powers, this minister has powers, and that minister has powers.”123. Such legislation sits most uneasily with the theory that the Crown has the legal capacity or powers that enable it (and therefore ministers as agents of the Crown) to do anything an individual may do.

68. There are only two ways of regarding such legislation in the light of that theory.
(1) The first is to interpret such legislation, if possible, as merely imposing (expressly or by implication) limitations, restrictions or conditions on what the



See FW Maitland Constitutional History of England CUP 1908 at p415-7: “the traditional lawyer’s view of the constitution has become very untrue to fact and law..according to that view..what is called the executive power is vested in the king alone and consists of the royal prerogative..this old doctrine is not even true to law. To a very large extent indeed England is now ruled by means of statutory powers which are not in any sense, even as strict matters of law, the powers of the king”. They are vested among others in government ministers. “Of this vast change [since 1832] our institutional writers have hardly yet taken any account. They go on writing as though England were governed by the royal prerogatives, as if ministers had nothing else to do than advise the king as to how his prerogatives should be exercised”. The lectures on which this book was based were delivered in 1886-7.


minister could otherwise do as an agent of the Crown, rather than giving him any ability to do something he previously had no ability to do. But the need to interpret enactments if possible systematically to mean something (and have an effect which is) different from what they say indicates that such an approach is simply an expedient to save the theory which prompts it from refutation by the legal facts. Moreover it may not be possible: “the statute book contains numerous provisions, and even whole acts, which serve no legislative purpose because they confer express power for a Minister to do something which he could do anyway without statutory power” on this basis124.

(2) The second alternative is possibly worse. It involves taking seriously the effect of the decision in the House of Lords in ex p M that what a minister does in the exercise of his statutory powers is not done by him as an agent for the Crown. On this basis such enactments simply confer a power on the minister in his own right, not as agent of the Crown. Thus any limitations, restrictions or conditions with which the minister must comply when exercising a statutory power vested in him as such, he need not observe when exercising any capacity which the Crown has to do the same thing. Then he is not doing such things under the statutory power at all but under a different power. This again makes such enactments wholly otiose and observance of any limitations imposed by Parliament effectively optional. That may be why the House of Lords simply assumedinR(Hooper)vtheSecretaryofStateforWorkandPensions125 that any limitations inherent in a statutory scheme governing payments by a minister likewise limited any capacity that he may have had as agent of the Crown to make similar payments.

69. Both alternatives, therefore, produce absurd consequences. The reason they do is that both are attempts to ignore constitutional developments since 1832 which recognise, and are premised on, the assumption that ministers of the Crown need statutory authority to do things which have not been established historically as things which the Crown may do, even if they are things that other persons may do without statutory authority.

124 D Greenberg Craies on Legislation 9th ed 2008 p56.



[2005] UKHL 29, [2005] 1 WLR 1681.


70. It may be said that the same points might be made about prerogative powers as defined by Blackstone. There too statutory powers are sometimes conferred on ministers enabling them to do what the Crown may have a prerogative power in that sense to do. But the problem there is far less acute as in many cases the statutory powers conferred are likely to be wider than such prerogative powers and, even if they are arguably not wider, there is still a good practical reason for conferring them, namely to provide greater certainty about the precise extent of such powers, particularly if they have not been exercised frequently. By contrast conferring a power on a minister to do something that any individual may do is wholly otiose if the Crown has power to do such things in any event.

iii. is the need for Parliamentary authority for expenditure a sufficient answer?

71. Parliamentary authority has to be obtained for the use of any money in, or otherwise destined for, the Consolidated Fund. It is sometimes suggested that this should be regarded as sufficient to meet the objection to the executive having the competence to decide for itself in what new activities it may engage, in what circumstances and under what conditions.

72. Parliamentary control over expenditure (such as it is) will not, of course, affect the executive’s ability to do things which may not involve expenditure to be met out of the Consolidated Fund. Moreover it is now recognised in any event that an Appropriation Act does notmakelawfulwhatisotherwiseunlawful126 andtoassumethatanappropriationissufficient fails to explain the numerous enactments vesting powers in ministers to do what individuals may also do.

73. But, quite apart from that, however, the process by which expenditure is authorised is not something which can realistically be said to convey Parliamentary endorsement for any specific activity or which can be used to determine the legality of any activity as it occurs. In order to appreciate why that is so, some points need to be explained by way of background127.

74. It has been Government policy that departmental estimates should identify in an explanatory note any expenditure which may ultimately rest on the sole authority of an


126 127

See eg Commonwealth v Colonial Ammunition Co Ltd (1924) 34 CLR 198.
For a general description of the process see eg Halsbury’s Laws of England Vol 8(2) Constitutional Law and

Human Rights 4th ed re-issue at [711]-[713].

Appropriation Act128. Provision is made for debates and votes on such estimates in the House of Commons129. However, no amendment to increase an estimate may be made and it appears that amendments to reduce an estimate are normally treated as an issue of confidence by the Government130. It appears, therefore, that “in modern times the Commons has not rejected an estimate and the scrutiny function appears a limited one”: “the supply procedures required to enable the House of Commons to vote supply, and provide the Government with funds from the Consolidated Fund, are technical and formal. Little substantial scrutiny is involved in such procedures. The policy objectives on which the money is spent are not determined by the Commons but by the government of the day”131. Thus even HM Treasury accepts that “the approval process [for such estimates] does not provide a meaningful opportunity for detailed scrutiny”1 3 2 .

75. The estimates as such, however, are not incorporated in any Act of Parliament. In practice Consolidated Fund Acts may simply authorise payment from that Fund of a global figure (which may be spent before any specific subsequent appropriation by an Appropriation Act). The Bill which leads to an Appropriation Act (which effectively governs previous authorisations from Consolidated Fund Acts for the year retrospectively) may identify services and purposes to which large sums may be devoted based on the estimates voted upon133. But


130 131

132 133


See now paragraph [1.2] of the HM Treasury’s Supply Estimates Guidance Manual (2007). 129 See Halsbury’s Laws of England Vol 34 Parliament 4th ed re-issue at [969]-[973].

See I Harden and others “Value for Money and Administrative law” [1996] PL 661 at p663.

John McEldowney “The Control of Public Expenditure” in J Jowell and D Oliver eds The Changing Constitution 5th edatp382,381.SeealsoHalsbury’sLawsofEnglandParliament4th edreissueat[974]:“detailedscrutiny of the estimates is largely perfunctory” and D Greenberg Craies on Legislation 9th ed 2008 at p59, “for practical purposes it is too easy to ‘hide’ expenditure within an entry in a Consolidated Fund Act, and even if displayed prominently an entry in an Act of that kind does not make it possible for the principle and practicalities of the service to which the expenditure relates to be debated and amended.”

HM Treasury Managing Public Money (2007) at [2.3.1].

See eg section 4 of, and Schedule 2 to, the Appropriation Act 2009. The terms of any appropriation can be very vague in any event. In Australia, for example, the Constitution provides that the Consolidated Revenue Fund must “be appropriated for the purposes of the the manner imposed by this Constitution” and a proposed law for that purpose cannot be passed “unless the purpose of the appropriation” has been recommended in a particular manner. But there it has been held that “departmental expenditure” (whatever that might mean) is a sufficient identification of that purpose: see Combet v the Commonwealth [2005] HCA 61, (2005) 224 CLR 494 per Gummow, Hayne, Callinan and Heydon JJ at [128] and [136] but see also per contra McHugh and Kirby JJ at [81]-[95] and [232]-[236] respectively. In the United Kingdom there is nothing to prohibit even vaguer appropriations or alternatively authorisations referring to no purpose whatsoever: see section 15 of the Exchequer and Audit Departments


that Bill “is not normally subject to any debate”134. Indeed “since 1982, proceedings on Consolidated Fund and Appropriation Bills have been purely formal. The question on the second reading is put forthwith, no order is made for the committal of the bill and the question for third reading is also put forthwith”135. As money bills, they are not subject in practice to scrutiny in the House of Lords136.

76. Whilst in practice such procedures may enable the House of Commons to control the total volume of expenditure financed from the Consolidated Fund and its general use, they are plainly not apt in practice to appraise whether any proposed new activities (if they are sufficiently identified) are ones in which the executive should engage, in what circumstances and on what conditions137.

77. In recognition of the limited nature of Parliamentary scrutiny of the details of its estimates, the Government has made statements giving assurances that in effect seek to make acceptable the principle (which it maintains is the law) that activities which anyone can do are things that ministers can do without statutory powers to engage in them.

78. The first is the misnamed ‘Public Accounts Committee Concordat’ of 1933 or the ‘Baldwin Convention’. The exchanges between the Treasury and the Public Accounts Committee138 to which these labels refer can scarcely be described as resulting in an agreement. The Committee thought that support for expenditure in an Appropriation Act “does not furnish adequate ground for the abandonment of attempts to place such expenditure on a constitutional footing”. The Treasury Minute in reply merely stated that, where an Appropriation Act had authorised “continuing grants”, it would “endeavour to” take the “opportunity….to insert regularising clauses in any appropriate legislation that may be in contemplation”. The Treasury had previously stated that it would “continue to aim at the observance of [the] principle” that,



Act 1866 as amended.

John McEldowney “The Control of Public Expenditure” in J Jowell and D Oliver eds The Changing Constitution 5th at p381.

135 See Halsbury’s Laws of England Vol 34 Parliament 4th ed reissue at [979].


137 138

The last substantive discussion in the House of Lords appears to have been in 1907: see Erskine May Parliamentary Practice p568.

Cf per McCombe J Gurung and others v the Ministry of Defence [2002] EWHC 2463 (Admin) at [41]. Some of the exchanges are partially quoted by Granville Ram in his Memorandum in November 1945 and

in Annex 2.1 to HM Treasury’s Managing Public Money (2007). 38

“where it is desired that continuing functions should be exercised by a government department…it is proper that the powers and duties to be exercised should be defined by specific statute”. Such statements only relate to “continuing activities” and even then the only apparent commitment is to aim at the observance of a principle and to endeavour to take opportunities to “regularise” the position if appropriate legislation may be in contemplation. It is not a commitment to observe the principle139. Treasury Counsel has described such statements as “flexible conventions and not legally binding”140.

79. Just how flexible a few examples may suffice to show. (i) It appears that university funding, which began in 1919, continued only on the basis of Appropriation Acts until the Education Reform Act 1988141, nearly 60 years later. (ii) The scheme for criminal injuries compensation came into force on August 1st 1964. In 1978 the Pearson Commission on Civil Liability and Compensation for Personal Injury recommended that the scheme be put on a statutory basis. Ultimately statutory provision was made in 1988 for that purpose but it was not brought into operation, leading to a successful claim for judicial review142. After that the existing scheme was given statutory effect as from November 8th 1995143, a mere 31 years after its introduction. (iii) A Criminal Injuries Compensation (Overseas) Scheme was launched by the Ministry of Defence in 1979. It still appears to have no statutory basis thirty years later. (iv) Payments have been made ex gratia to those wrongly convicted or charged for many years. They were put on a more systematic footing in 1976 and the criteria were elaborated in ministerial statements in 1985. Although there was an opportunity to legislate on the subject in 1998 which was taken to enact one part of the scheme, the rest remained un-enacted144 and operative until withdrawn in April 2006 on the apparent ground that “the existence of the second, discretionary [non-statutory]



The Treasury has stated that Ministers “must normally seek Parliamentary authority for specific legislation to empower any significant new commitment which seems likely to persist. In the Concordat of 1932.. the Treasury undertook to aim that departments would respect this requirement”: see Managing Public Money at [2.1.1].


See R (Hooper) v the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2005] UKHL 1681, [2005] 1 WLR 1681, at 141 TC Dainteth “The Techniques of Government” in J Jowell and D Oliver eds The Changing Constitution 3rd ed

142 143 144

p209-236 at p217.
R v the Home Secretary ex p Fire Brigades Union [1995] 2 AC 513. Section 12 of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 1995.
See per Lord Bingham In re McFarland [2004] UKHL 17 at [8]-[9].


scheme is confusing and anomalous”145.

80. The second attempt to provide to provide reassurance about the Government’s legal claims comprise statements about what may be included “with Treasury approval” by Departments in their estimates “in order to avoid an undue burden on the Parliamentary timetable”. Provision may be made in such estimates for expenditure (so it is said) which meet the following conditions: the expenditure is no more than £1.5m a year or it is expected to last for no more than two years; any existing explicit statutory limits are respected; and no specific legislation on the matter in question is before Parliament146. It may be noted that the first of these conditions in effect dilutes the so-called ‘Public Accounts Committee Concordat’ or ‘Baldwin Convention’, since it envisages a function continuing without statutory authority on the basis of an Appropriation Act provided the amount involved does not exceed a specific figure. These are, of course, rules which are unenforceable since no court may prohibit Ministers from putting forward whatever Bill they choose for payments out of the Consolidated Fund. Moreover HM Treasury also recognises that last condition may be circumvented by drawing on the Contingencies Fund with its approval provided that the proposed expenditure must be genuinely urgent and in the public interest; that the relevant bill must have successfully passed second reading in the House of Commons; that Parliament must have been made aware of the intended steps in appropriate detail when relevant previous legislative steps were taken; that the planned legislation must be certain, or virtually certain, to pass into law in the near future, and usually within the financial year; and that the department responsible must explain clearly to Parliament what is taking place, why, and by when matters should be placed on a “normal” footing147.

81. Both these types of attempted reassurance relying on the controls exerted by HM Treasury are statements designed to indicate how limited a reliance (which the public is in effect invited to assume) that the Government will place on any rule that activities which anyone can do are things that ministers can do without statutory powers to engage in them. But the constitutional propriety of the claimed power cannot rest on how for the time being the executive may condescend not to use it or to use it only in certain ways. The significant question is whether,

145 See the Home Secretary’s statement on April 19th 2006:


146 147

See HM Treasury Managing Public Money at [2.3.3] and Annex 2.5 at [A2.5.15]. See HM Treasury Managing Public Money at [2.4.3] and Annex 2.5 at [A2.5.16-19].


even in relation to those activities which require expenditure from the Consolidated Fund to be authorised, the process of authorisation is something which can realistically be said to convey Parliamentary endorsement for any specific new activity or the circumstances and conditions upon which the executive ought to engage in it. Realistically even the Government does not claim it can. Moreover it is a process of Parliamentary authorisation which in practice circumvents the need for bicameral approval of legislation otherwise required for authorising executive activities precisely because the concern whether or not to enact such money bills is financial.

82. There is a further problem in seeking to treat such legislation as providing any Parliamentary approval of any new activity. When any expenditure is incurred or falls to be defrayed, there may be no appropriation which may be said to endorse the purpose for which the expenditure is incurred. First the executive has access to a Contingencies Fund whose use does not in practice require prior Parliamentary approval for any estimate148. This fund may not exceed 2% of the authorised supply expenditure for the previous financial year149, which is not a small sum150. The Fund may be used to make advances for “urgent services” in anticipation of Parliamentary provision (as well as for certain cash-flow management purposes)151. Secondly Consolidated Fund Acts may authorise a total amount to be withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund without any statutory appropriation of that amount to any specific purpose. The Appropriation Act for the year (which may appropriate amounts for expenditure previously authorised under a Consolidated Fund Act) may only be enacted towards the end of the financial year in question. Thus, for example, the Consolidated Fund Act 2008 authorised the Treasury to issue £32,112,484,000 out of the Consolidated Fund and to apply it to the service of the year ending with 31 March 2009 without any specific appropriation. It was only in the Appropriation Act 2009 enacted shortly before the end of that financial year on March 12th 2009 that that sum (and a further £12,049,636,000 which was authorised to be issued and applied in the same way) was appropriated to certain services and purposes. Thus, when expenditure is defrayed, there may be no statutory appropriation which can be said to provide



149 150


The origins of this fund are described in John McEldowney “the Contingencies Fund and Parliamentary Scrutiny of Public Finance” (1988) PL 232-245.

See section 1 of the Contingencies Fund Act 1974.

The Treasury was authorised to issue £12,049,636,000 out of the consolidated fund in respect of the financial year 2008-09: see section 4 of the Appropriation Act 2009. 2% of that amount (for example) is £240,992,720.

See section 3 of the Miscellaneous Financial Provisions Act 1946.


a Parliamentary endorsement of any activity involved or by reference to which the legality of the activity on which any particular expenditure is incurred may be assessed.

iv. other constitutional arguments

83. There are other constitutional arguments that are sometimes advanced for the view that the Crown may do anything a natural person may do. Lying behind some views is a notion about royal dignity. Thus, for example, in the Bankers’ Case, Holt CJ thought that “it is against the nature of the being of a king that he should have less power than his people”152. Similarly in 1904 Griffiths CJ stated in the High Court in Australia that “that which is lawful to an individual can surely not be denied to the Crown, when the advisers of the Crown think it in the public interest…it would be a strange thing if Courts of Justice were to assert the right to inquire into the propriety of executive action”153. If notions about royal dignity and that immunity of the purposes of executive action from legal scrutiny are perhaps less intuitively compelling today, a claim invoking notions of equality for ministers to be accorded at least the same treatment as others may appear more compelling. But neither claim can survive the recognition that the position of ministers and the public powers they may have are fundamentally different from the position and powers that others may have.

v. the consequences of requiring, or not requiring, statutory powers for new executive activities

84. Baroness Scotland attempted to defend the Government’s claims by stating that “to require parliamentary authority for every exercise of the common law powers exercisable by the Crown either would impose upon Parliament an impossible burden or produce legislation that simply reproduced the common law.” Since she appears to have assumed (wrongly) that every exercise of a subsidiary power would need a separate statutory authority in addition to the primary power to which it is subservient, she appears to have misunderstood what may be required. What would be required is merely statutory power to undertake activities which there is no existing established power in the Crown to undertake.

85. Such activities ought already to be identified in the estimates which the Government


152 153

see 14 ST 1 at p30.

See Clough v Leahy (1904) 2 CLR 139 dealing with a commission of inquiry for the purpose of ascertaining whether any alteration of the law and, if so what, was necessary. His approach has been subsequently disowned by Mason and Brennan JJ: see footnote [100] above.


prepares. It is not clear why deciding whether the executive should have power to undertake them and, if so, in what circumstances and under what conditions would impose an “impossible burden” on Parliament. It is in fact an important function that it might be thought Parliament exists to discharge.

86. If Parliament wishes to legislate to give the executive some general authority to undertake new activities because the burden of considering them individually would be too great, that is a matter for Parliament. It is theoretically possible that it might enact a statutory provision that the Crown or Secretary of State may do anything for any purpose whatsoever which is not unlawful for an individual to do. However unlikely the prospect of such an enactment may be in practice given the abuses to which it could give rise, the choice is ultimately one for Parliament in accordance with the democratic principle which our constitutional law now reflects. The authority for new executive action should be derived from Parliament, not the Crown. What the legal rule which the Government advocates in practice does is to give the executive the power never to have to ask Parliament whether it is prepared to grant it such unfettered power.

87. “The main argument” for treating the executive as being free to do anything which an individual may do has been said to be “the practical day-to-day needs of government. The government is able to respond quickly, flexibly and relatively unhindered with the action it considers appropriate to meet, sometimes unexpected, societal needs”154. This argument echoes that which Locke advanced for the prerogative, although he thought it justified a discretion to act for the public good not only “without the prescription of the law” but also “sometimes even against it”155. But, quite apart from the fact that the power being claimed is not one limited to meeting “societal needs” or “the public good” (since individuals need not act in that way), the argument is remarkably weak. Parliament now meets regularly and is in session for much of the year. Any urgent need for authority to do something not already authorised without waiting for such specific statutory powers to be conferred as Parliament thinks appropriate can be met by general legislation enabling emergency powers to be conferred156. The substantive issue is not one about the need to respond urgently if there is a need to do so. It is about who


154 155 156

See BV Harris “The ‘Third Source’ of Authority for Government Action revisited” (2007) 123 LQR 225 at p237. See J Locke Second Treatise on Civil Government Chapter XIV “Of Prerogative”.
See eg Part 2 of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.


decides what new activities the executive should be able to undertake, in what circumstances and under what conditions. Constitutionally that should now be a matter for Parliament, not the executive.

(d) the implications of devolution and a glance abroad

88. Any rule that the Crown may do anything an individual may do will also sit uneasily with devolution within the United Kingdom. In Scotland the functions “of Her Majesty’s prerogative and other executive functions which are exercisable on behalf of Her Majesty by a Minister of the Crown” are exercisable by the Scottish Ministers “so far as they are exercisable within devolved competence”157. Although this provision does not identify what powers Scottish Ministers may exercise when dealing with matters on which the Scottish Parliament has competence, it raises the question whether this provision carries with it a limitation on the matters which ministers in London may exercise any such powers and whether, for example, both sets of Ministers have to exercise such powers in any event for their relevant governmental purposes.

89. Federal constitutions overseas have created similar problems. In Australia section 61 of the Constitution provides that “the executive power of the Commonwealth is vested in the Queen and is exercisable by the Governor-General as the Queen’s representative, and extends to the execution and maintenance of this Constitution, and of the laws of the Commonwealth.” In Canada section 9 of the Constitution Act 1867 provides that “the Executive Government and Authority of and over Canada is hereby declared to continue and be vested in the Queen”. In each country there are also executives at the state or provincial level respectively. In those countries questions about what activities are appropriate to the executive at each level cannot be avoided. Those questions may not have been resolved there yet with success partly because of the vagueness of the constitutional provisions themselves but also because of tension caused by changing conceptions of what functions governments at each level should undertake. Moreover the case law is often not clear whether the issue concerns the limits on the scope of



Section 53(2) of the Scotland Act 1998. It is outside devolved competence to exercise the function (or exercise it in any way) so far as a provision of an Act of the Scottish Parliament conferring the function (or, as the case may be, conferring it so as to be exercisable in that way) would be outside the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament: see sections 54(3) and 29 of the Scotland Act 1998 and Part III of Schedule 4 to that Act. It does not appear that any non-statutory powers have been transferred to Welsh Ministers under section 58 of the Government of Wales Act 2006.


what the executive may do or the powers which it may use within that scope. Further, because the executive power is vested by the Constitution in the Crown, there may be a question about whether, and to what extent, the powers of the Crown at common law are relevant to its scope or to what may be done within it.

90. This latter point is an issue in Australia. There it has been said that one should not look to the content of the prerogative in England but rather to section 61 of the Constitution and that the prerogative may be an historical antecedent of the power which that section confers but that it does adequately illuminate the origins of executive power in section 61158. The current position in respect of contracts and other expenditure by the Commonwealth government appears to be that the Crown in that capacity is limited to those matters over which the Commonwealth has legislative competence or which are derived from the executive’s status as a national government159. The former delimited area of competence may reflect the need to maintain a distinction in capacity between the Commonwealth and State executives (by reflecting the respective competences of their legislatures)160 and the latter (albeit potentially in conflict with the first) to deal with matters over which it is thought that the national government should have competence. This is inherently vague. Mason J once said, for example, that it provided “a capacity to engage in enterprises and activities peculiarly adapted to the government of a nation and which cannot otherwise be carried on for the benefit of the nation”1 6 1 .

91. In Canada the distribution of executive powers between the national and provincial governments in substance likewise follows the distribution of legislative powers162. But, unlike



See per Gummow J Re Ditford (1988) 19 FCR 347 at p369, per French J Ruddock v Vadarlis [2001] FCA 1329 at [179]. For discussion on the nature and extent of the executive power: see G Winterton “The limits and use of executive power by government” [2003] FedLRev 10; B Selway “All at sea — constitutional assumptions and ‘ the executive power of the commonwealth” [2003] FedLRev 12; Leslie Zines The High Court and the Constitution 5th ed 2008 at p341 et seq.

159 See Leslie Zines The High Court and the Constitution 5th ed 2008 at p341-359, 360-1; Commonwealth v Australian Shipping Board (1926) 39 CLR 1; Commonwealth & Central Wool Committee v Colonial Combing, Spinning and Weaving Co Ltd (1922) 31 CLR 421; Victoria v the Commonwealth (1975) 134 CLR 338; Davies v the Commonwealth (1988) 166 CLR 79.

160 161


See eg per Mason CJ, Deane and Gaudron JJ Davies v the Commonwealth (1988) 166 CLR 79 at p93-94. See per Mason J Victoria v the Commonwealth (1975) 134 CLR 338 at p397, a view endorsed by Brennan

J in Davis v the Commonwealth (1988) 166 CLR 79 at p111.
See Liquidators of the Maritime Bank of Canada v Receiver-General of New Brunswick [1892] AC 437 at


the Commonwealth Parliament in Australia, the Canadian Parliament has legislative competence in respect of all matters not coming within the classes of subject assigned exclusively to the legislatures of the Provinces163. Moreover the Canadian Parliament has specific competence over “the Raising of Money by any Mode or System of Taxation” and “the Public…Property” on the basis of which it has been inferred that it may finance activities in the public interest which fall outside the federal Parliament’s specific legislative competence, although the extent of this power may not be unlimited when funds are used for matters which fall within the competence of the provinces in Canada164. The provinces may likewise have a similar so-called “spending power”165.The scope of executive action at each level may thereby be correspondingly expanded166. That of itself does not necessarily mean that the executive at either level has power to anything falling within that scope without statutory authorisation or prerogative power. But there appears to be an assumption that they may167, a view also

p442; Bonanza Creek Mining Co Ltd v the King [1916] 1 AC 566 at p580-1; Operation Dismantle v the Queen [1985] 1 SCR 441 per Wilson J at [50].




See per Viscount Haldane Attorney General for Australia v Colonial Sugar Refining Co [1914] 237 at p252-

See section 91 of the Constitution Act 1867. Cf also Part III of the 1982 Constitution which deals with Equalisation and Regional Disparities. Section 36 provided that “Parliament and the government of Canada are committed to the principle of making equalisation payments to ensure that provincial governments have sufficient revenues to provide reasonably comparable levels of public service at reasonably comparable levels of taxation”. On the potential limitation on the Parliamentary use of funds: see Attorney General for Canada v Attorney General for Ontario [1937] AC 355 (“It may still be legislation affecting the classes of subjects enumerated in s. 92, and, if so, would be ultra vires. In other words, Dominion legislation, even though it deals with Dominion property, may yet be so framed as to invade civil rights within the Province, or encroach upon the classes of subjects which are reserved to Provincial competence.”) and Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. v Iness (2004) 70 OR (3rd) 148, (2004) 236 DLR (4th) 241, at [25]-[33] (“The power to spend or lend federal money, however, is not unlimited. The exercise of that power will be considered to impermissibly trench on the exclusive jurisdiction of a province if the exercise of the power is in reality an attempt to regulate a matter within the provincial jurisdiction.”); by contrast seeHoggConstitutionalLawofCanada5th ed[6.8(a)](“thebetterviewofthelawisthatthefederalParliament may spend or lend its funds to any government or institution or individual it chooses, for any purpose it chooses…there is no compelling reason too confine spending or lending or contracting within the limits of legislative power, because in those functions the government is not purporting to exercise any peculiarly governmental authority over its subjects”) and at [29.3].

Lovelace v Ontario [2000] 1 SCR 950 at [111].

The power of the Federal Government to fund job creation schemes appears to be inferred from the powers of the Federal Parliament to levy taxes, to legislate in relation to “public property”, and to appropriate federal funds: see per Sopinka J YMHA Jewish Community Centre of Winnipeg Inc. v Brown [1989] 1 SCR 1532.


165 166



reflected in the view espoused by the Supreme Court in Canada (already referred to) that the Crown may do anything an individual may do as the monarch is a physical person.

92. It remains to be seen, therefore, whether the advent of devolution itself brings with it a limitation of what non-statutory powers which the Crown is recognised to retain in England.

(e) the court’s approach in this country

93. In this country there is no general and unlimited capacity that the Crown has to spend money on whatever it may wish which has been established by any decision of the courts. In most cases the issue has not arisen: claimants have no interest in disputing a minister’s power to pay them the money they want. However what is notable about cases in which payments have been made to relieve hardship is that the authority to make them has been ascribed to the prerogative, “a power of bounty by way of redress of hardships”168. Thus, for example, the schemes for criminal injuries compensation and for compensation for wrongful conviction have been specifically attributed to the prerogative169. But such an established power is not unlimited in scope.

94. Indeed this may be thought that this is a better explanation for the decision of the House of Lords in R (Hooper) v the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions170. In that case social security legislation conferred a statutory right on widows to certain benefits based on their husband’s contributions171. If the claimants had been women they would have been entitled



See The Odessa [1916] 1 AC 145 PC at p162 (redress of hardship for subjects and neutrals from decrees of the Prize Court: prerogative unimpaired by legislation); cf per Lord Diplock Council of Civil Service Unions v Minister of the Civil Service [1984] 1 AC 375 at p410a (referring to the Crown’s prerogative power of bounty); contrast his earlier view in R v CICB ex p Lain [1967] 2 QB 864 at p886 that “the only limitation upon the power of the executive government to confer benefits upon subjects by way of money payments is a practical one, to wit, the necessity to obtain from Parliament a grant-in-aid for that purpose”. Would it now really be suggested that the only limitation on the executive’s power to confer a monetary benefit on members of the party forming the current administration was obtaining an appropriation act authorising payments to encourage participation in political parties? But, even this formulation, does not imply a power to spend money on other things.

See R v Home Secretary ex p Fire Brigades Union [1995] 2 AC 513 supra; R v Home Secretary ex p Harrison [1988] 3 All ER 86 at p91, 93; In re McFarland [2004] UKHL 17, [2004] 1 WLR 1289 per Lord Scott at [40]- [41].

[2005] UKHL 29, [2005] 1 WLR 1681.
See sections 36 to 38 of the Social Security (Contributions and Benefits) Act 1992.


170 171


to such benefits. The Claimants asserted that the Crown had power to pay them the same amounts and that it had to do so to avoid discrimination. The House of Lords held that, even if any of statutory provisions involved discrimination and assuming that the Crown had power to make such payments, it was not required to do so as the Secretary of State was giving effect to the statutory provisions in not making such payments to persons who were not widows172. The reasoning involved is unpersuasive. The fact that Parliament may impose a duty on the Secretary of State to provide certain benefits to certain persons in certain circumstances is in no respect incompatible with a power to provide others with them in similar circumstances173. Nonetheless the result is perfectly intelligible. The Crown has never exercised a power to provide social insurance benefits for those in respect of whom contributions have previously been made. Social insurance has never been an established function of the Crown, any more than providing relief generally against poverty. Relief of the poor generally was a matter of local administration from the Poor Law Act 1601 until the poor law was repealed in 1948 and replaced by a scheme of national assistance (now in the form of income-based jobseeker’s allowance and income support). For the Crown to provide social insurance or a general national scheme for the relief of poverty would be to embark on a wholly new activity without Parliamentary authority and for that reason it ought to have been regarded as unlawful174.

95. Similarly it is notable that the Court of Appeal in R v the Home Secretary ex p Northumbria Police Authority did not approach the question whether the Secretary of State had power to provide certain goods (plastic baton rounds and CS gas) to Chief Constables (in the absence of any statutory power to do so) by saying that anyone may provide goods or services. It derived the Home Secretary’s power from the prerogative power to maintain the Queen’s Peace and to keep law and order175.


172 173



See at [6], [47]-[52], [77]-[81], [94]-[95], [122]-[124].

Indeed that appears to be the only basis on which the House of Lords could have regarded the fact that Parliament provided for a right compensation in certain circumstances to those wrongly convicted under section 133 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 as not precluding the Home Secretary providing such compensation in others as a matter of discretion: see In re McFarland [2004] UKHL 17, [2004] 1 WLR 17, at [12].

This was not an argument advanced in that case since it was in the interests of both parties to assert that the Crown had powers to make payments to others. The notion that the Crown could now embark, for example, on providing housing for all nationally without any specific Parliamentary authorisation, making itself a housing authority, would be open to the same objection.

See [1989] 1 QB 26 per Croom-Johnson LJ at p42-45; per Purchas LJ at p45-47e, p51c-52a, per Nourse LJ at p56d-59a.


96. Such cases do not support any contention that a minister has a general power to spend, or to provide goods or services, for any purpose for which an individual may do so. Of course traditionally the executive has done many things which individuals may also do such as hold inquiries for public purposes (for example by holding Royal Commissions) or providing advice and guidance. Such things may relate to how ministers are to exercise powers they themselves have. However they may go wider than that176. But the existence of such recognised primary activities is no real argument that the same activities may be carried out by the executive for non-public177 or different purposes.

97. The few cases in which activities on the part of ministers have been found to be lawful simply on the basis of the Crown’s alleged power (either as a corporation sole or given the absence of any prohibition) to do anything an individual may do are often disturbing. Should the government have power to operate what is in practice a blacklist, appearance on which will in practice deny an individual an opportunity to pursue a career he chooses, without statutory authority and without Parliament stating under what conditions and with what protections for individuals it should operate178? To say that an individual might maintain such a list having the same effects as one maintained by a Minister of the Crown is simply fanciful. Equally, when Parliament has enacted a procedure to be followed before local government can be reorganised involving independent elements, should a minister have power to embark on a procedure not involving such elements as if the legislation had already been changed by Parliament (incidentally requiring information from local authorities involved under statutory powers) but which was to be completed until after any change, thus pre-empting legislation and creating




the Case on Proclamations where the judges recognised that “the King for the prevention of offences may by proclamation admonish his subjects that they keep the laws, and do not offend them” and that disregard of such advice may be regarded “as a circumstance [which] aggravates the offence” may be regarded as an early recognition of a power to issue non-statutory guidance to others: see (1611) 12 Co Rep 74 at p75-6.

In Jenkins v Attorney General (1971) 115 Sol J 674 an application for an interlocutory injunction to restrain the printing, publishing and distributing of a leaflet about entry to the common market was refused on the basis that “it could not be held on an interlocutory application that the Government’s right to communicate was so circumscribed that it could not tell the people what it proposed to do and why it so proposed”. This does not necessarily mean that the executive may publish anything for any purpose. For example in R v the Environment Secretary ex p Greenwich LBC [1989] COD 530 it was stated that the distribution of an information leaflet in the exercise of the prerogative might be restrained if it misstated the law or if the guidance or advice given were manifestly inaccurate or misleading. It is hard to believe that, if the executive tried to publish material designed to persuade voters to support those currently in office or their political party in a forthcoming election, it would not be regarded as doing something for an improper purpose.

Cf R v the Secretary of State for Health ex p C supra. 49


facts that Parliament could scarcely be expected to ignore179. Any analogy with what an individual could have done in such a case would have been absurd. No individual can in practice engage in local government re-organisation. Both these cases involved conduct by Government ministers without any Parliamentary approval, therefore, which in practice no individual could have undertaken with the same effects. No doubt they did not involve doing anything which was expressly prohibited and they did not involve the exercise of what Sir William Wade would have described as a legal power (any more than issuing a passport does). But the notion that their legality can be established merely by invoking the Crown’s capacity as a corporation sole is as spurious as the analogy of such conduct with that of an individual. Such cases sit ill with those (such as the Fire Brigade Union’s case180) which find the Minister’s power to act in the prerogative, an analysis that recognises a need for it to have been shown that such things have been established as capable of being done under the prerogative if they are to be lawful.


98. There is little to be said for the legal arguments which have been advanced to support the supposed rule that prima facie a Government minister may do anything which an individual may do. The fact that there may be no prohibition, express or implied, on a minister doing something does not necessarily mean that he has the capacity in law to do it. Any assumption that he does, as he is the agent of the Crown, simply begs the question about what the Crown may do when acting in its public capacity. The suggestion that the minister when acting as the agent of the Crown in its public capacity may do anything an individual may do because the monarch is an individual “savours of the archaism of past centuries”. Treating the constitutional position of the Crown today as it may have been under the Angevins ignores the subsequent transformation of the monarchy and the consequent recognition of the different public and private capacities that the Crown now has. Similarly deriving such powers, as the Court of Appeal has tried to do, from the recognition that the Crown is a corporation sole at common law and by treating it as having the same powers as those which all other corporations were (wrongly) assumed necessarily to have, ignores the fact that at common law




See R (Shrewsbury & Atcham BC) v the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government [2007] EWHC 2279; [2008] EWCA Civ 148 contrast Carnwath LJ at [50]-[61] and Waller LJ at [82] with Richards LJ at [75].

See paragraph [48] above.


the Crown was different from other corporations sole. Each of these arguments ignores the fact that legally the Crown is unique. Each of these arguments also ignores the fact that, when the government does things which an individual may also do, in practice the effects are by no means necessarily comparable.

99. More fundamentally these arguments divert attention from the substantive constitutional issues raised by the contention that ministers may do whatever an individual may lawfully do. That contention in substance involves a claim (a) that it is for the executive, not Parliament to decide, in what new activities the government may engage, in what circumstances and under what conditions and (b) that ministers have an unfettered discretion in relation to what they thus do, provided that in each case they do not do anything unlawful or which they are prohibited from doing.

100. The latter claim creates scope for the abuse of public power that the courts have rejected in line with the development of modern public law. The position which the Court of Appeal adopted in R v the Secretary of State ex p C, that a minister may do anything which an individual may do provided that he does not abuse that power, denies in that proviso the general proposition which that court purported to endorse. However the Court of Appeal’s position (which is also the position adopted by the Government) is not merely internally inconsistent. It also fails to provide the protection against the abuse of public power which was no doubt the reason why the court adopted such a proviso. By leaving unlimited the purposes for which ministers may act and thus also the considerations which they may take into account, it allows public powers to be exercised other than in the public interest and other than for public purposes.

101. The former claim should also be rejected in the line with the development of other aspects of modern constitutional law. It is inconsistent with the democratic principle that modern constitutional law now embraces that the executive should derive its powers to undertake new activities from Parliament. Indeed the rule that the executive may do anything an individual may lawfully do is in stark contrast to legislation over the last two hundred years which confers powers on ministers to do such things which cannot sensibly be interpreted consistently with that suggested rule. Such a rule would mean that much legislation must be treated as being either redundant (in conferring powers on ministers which they otherwise


had) or as meaning systematically something other than what it says (where possible treating such legislation not as conferring new powers on ministers as it ostensibly does but merely as imposing restrictions or limitations on what they may do). The suggested rule is thus incompatible with the structure of modern constitutional law. Nor can Parliamentary authorisation for such new activities be regarded as having been conferred by any statutory authorisation for expenditure from the Consolidated Fund. Such enactments are money bills, concerned with control of public expenditure rather than with authorising the executive to engage in the particular activities on which money may be spent. Indeed the assurances that the Government feels it necessary to give about how little reliance it will place on its alleged capacity to do anything an individual may do are themselves an indication of the anomalous nature of its claim.

102. Any rule that a Government minister may do anything that an individual may do, therefore, should not be accepted. Nor should Blackstone’s conception of a prerogative power which creates the possibility for such a rule. Etymologically no doubt Blackstone’s conception of what a prerogative power is may be correct. But it creates a conundrum concerning the source of the executive’s power to do things that the Government has undoubtedly done but which individuals may also do and even whether ministers need any authority to do things at all. Dicey’s conception of the prerogative, as being the authority for every act which the executive may do without the authority of an Act of Parliament, avoids this conundrum. But, more significantly, when combined with the established rules that prerogative powers are limited to those which the law allows and which have already been established, it enables effect to be given to the democratic principle which the constitution now embraces that new activities on the part of the government should be authorised by Parliament and it restricts the scope for abuse of such public powers consistently with the development of modern public law. Dicey’s conception of the prerogative, which courts have regularly endorsed and applied to those things that both the executive and individuals may do, is thus legally, if not linguistically, to be preferred. Given that the prerogative is limited in what it may authorise to things which it has been established may be done under it, any rule that ministers may do whatever an individual may do is thus one which is not only inconsistent with constitutional principle and practice generally181 but also with such decisions.



There are, of course, cases in which ministers have acted without any specific reliance on an established prerogative power: see paragraph [97] above.


103. No doubt the limitations on what the Crown may thus be able to do would astonish, for example, those living in the reign of Edward II. But law is not unchanging. In Edward II’s reign juries were expected to bring their own knowledge of every breach of the law, criminal and civil, to their deliberations and could be amerced for failing to do so. In the reign of Elizabeth II jurors now have to be warned not to make their own investigations or rely on anything which is not evidence which they have heard in court182. Just as the functions of the jury have changed radically since the time of Edward II, so also have those of the Crown, even though the name of each institution may remain the same. As the Judges in Calvin’s Case recognised, the King has “a politic body or capacity…framed by the policy of man”. As a corporation sole or when acting in a public capacity, what the Crown may do is not an inalienable and invariable endowment conferred by nature. It is a variable legal capacity which has evolved in conjunction with other features of constitutional law in response to changing political, social and legal views and pressures.

John Howell QC



See James Oldham The varied life of the self-informing jury (2005) Selden Society at p9-10; R v Karakaya [2005] EWCA Crim 341 at [24]-[26].



Posted in "Climate Change", Science, The Corrupt SOB's by earthling on February 11, 2014

If Scotland really went down the route of absolute independence, there’s a good chance such weapons would be used upon it. GET WITH THE FCUKING PROGRAMME WILL YOU? Start to understand this world around you instead of sitting on your fat ass and thinking a vote is going to change your life!


And our lads fought for freedom and democracy. Well this is your freedom and democracy asshole!

What you or I have to do to get people to understand that what we tell them is real, is beyond me. You say “Weather Weapons” and people just roll their eyes. The haven’t looked at the history of the Vietnam war and Cambodia etc. They don’t look at United States Armed Forces documents (and the elite KNOW they can produce such because only .01% of the population will read them, note it and take heed of it and then, if we speak of it? “Conspiracy theorist” even when the documents are in the public domain!!)

So, for those of you who have heard about this and rolled your eyes, I just ask you why you ignore the EU Parliament making statements that acknowledge they exist and are dangerous to people’s lives. They are weapons of genocide and people just roll their fcuking eyes!


The HAARP project and non-lethal weapons.
Experts alarmed – public debate needed.

The hearing on the HAARP project and non-lethal weapons was held in connection with a European Parliament own-initiative report, to be drawn up by Maj Britt THEORIN (PES, S), on the possible use of military resources in environmental strategies.

Non-lethal (or non-deadly) weapons – a varied scenario
As Peter TRUSCOTT (PES, UK) said in his introduction, “There is an invisible line between what is acceptable and what is suspect”. This is the nub of the issue.

Non-lethal weapons constitute a trend in military thinking which has developed since the end of the Cold War. The world is dealing with a different sort of crisis, which is less easily identifiable and less easy to manage with traditional methods and weapons – hence the desire to master the violence by means other than the same violence. Non- lethal weapons are compared by some authors to “straitjackets” and defined as “any action capable of modifying the behaviour of the adversary while avoiding his annihilation”. This appears to be a significant element of crisis prevention but can be – and is – also used in civilian situations (e.g. crowd control).

Mr Luc MAMPAEY, a researcher at GRIP, the Brussels-based European institute for research and information into peace and security, said he believed the expression “non-lethal weapons” was semantically contentious. He argued that the term had reassuring connotations. It was the politically correct term, and one which could delude the public into thinking that nowadays a clean war was possible and hence morally acceptable. In fact, as he himself and the Red Cross representative, Mr Robin COUPLAND (Geneva), pointed out, the dividing line between deadly and non-deadly weapons was not clear. Some weapons might result in death, while others could incapacitate their victims permanently or temporarily. Mr COUPLAND was quite categorical: the term “non-deadly”, he said, was ultimately a marketing slogan.

The problem of definition “by default” led all the experts to stress that there was no single type of non-lethal weapon and that a careful distinction must be made between the various types, from the simplest to the most sophisticated. These new weapons covered a broad spectrum of technologies, from optical systems with a dazzling or blinding effect, through sound and electro- magnetic waves, chemical, medicinal, adhesive, slippery, super-caustic and acidic substances, biological agents, bacteria and micro-organisms, to rubber bullets and electric-shock batons.

Dangers to health and the environment

The effects on health and the environment were also described as variable. Any weapon designed to disrupt an organism, as well as weapons capable of affecting an organism indirectly, by chemical or biological means, or optical, acoustic or neurological stimuli, could become fatal under certain conditions. Adhesive foam, it was said, could also have extremely dangerous side- effects.

Only if a precisely calculated dose were perfectly delivered could it be guaranteed that sensory (or xenobiotic) stimuli would not have irreversible, or indeed, fatal effects. In practice, this perfect control over the degree of disruption was the first thing likely to go by the board under extreme conditions, where the desire for a swift and decisive solution would rapidly override considerations of ethics or toxicology.

The risk of abuse in democratic societies

However, it was argued, health and environmental issues were not the only concerns raised by the use of non-lethal weapons. Mr COUPLAND expressed concern about an overlap of civil, police and military applications. He was also afraid that these weapons might be used not to replace conventional weapons but in addition to them.

In Mr MAMPAEY’s view, as non-lethal weapons developed, links were bound to be created between military and law-and-order operations, which, he said, would enable certain current conventions to be bypassed. There was a danger of growing militarisation of domestic police forces, which would have access to more sophisticated weaponry. This could raise problems in any state which was supposed to be based on the rule of law and to be mindful of human rights and individual freedoms.

The HAARP project

Tom SPENCER (EPP, UK), chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said that the United States had been invited to state its viewpoint on this matter to the hearing. Although the US had declined an initial invitation, Mr SPENCER reiterated his offer, saying that the Americans could send a representative to address the committee in future if they wished.

Ms Rosalie BERTELL, from Toronto (Canada), is one of the best-informed experts about HAARP (the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Programme), a programme which has been developed by the US military.

She described the background to HAARP. The ionosphere is a high-altitude layer of the atmosphere with particles which are highly charged with energy. If radiation is projected into the ionosphere, huge amounts of energy can be generated and used to annihilate a given region.

The HAARP project involves the manipulation of the earth’s ionosphere, whose natural role is to moderate energy transfer from the sun to the earth and is used as a missile trajectory and as a reflector for radio communication. The aim of HAARP is to control and manipulate the ionosphere so as to enable the manipulator to wipe out communications at will on a global scale, or to make them resilient in the event of a nuclear war.

It also enables communications to take place with submerged submarines and can, in theory, create geomagnetic pathways to guide particle beams which could then deposit large amounts of energy anywhere on the globe. In simpler terms, HAARP, with its power of intimidation, of delivery or denial of electrical energy on a global scale and its control of communications, is an element of a system which could control the global village in some frightening ways.

According to Dr Nick BEGICH, an expert from Alaska and author of one of the leading publications on the subject*, the HAARP programme would allow such concentrations of energy to be attained that an entire region of the planet could be deprived of water. Electromagnetic waves can cause earthquakes or tidal waves. Mr SPENCER pointed out that, under international conventions, any actions leading to climate change were prohibited.

Mr BEGICH said that in his eyes the project was purely and simply “Star Wars technology”. Moreover, it was a secret project, as the US Congress had refused to finance Star Wars. The USA, he claimed, had allocated 91 million dollars to the main programme, to which must be added the related programmes. Over the last 50 years, he said, certain levels of security had been developed which were protected from public scrutiny. State secrets were acceptable in themselves but if they involved such major repercussions for human beings and the environment they must be made public. In his view, the international community should be allowed to evaluate the risks of the HAARP programme.

Eurico DE MELO (EPP, P) said he regarded the revelations as terrifying and said that there was a need for a campaign to inform the public about it.

Winding up, Magda AELVOET (Green, B) told the hearing that there was a saying: “War is too important to be left to the generals”. She feared we had forgotten this truth.

and this…

Finally, some excerpts from UK Parliament:

HC Deb 21 October 2002 vol 391 c56W56W

§Paul FlynnTo ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment has been made of the HAARP programme; and what contribution Britain is making to it. [75022]

§Dr. MoonieThe Ministry of Defence is fully aware of the HAARP project. However the MOD has made no specific assessment of the project for defence purposes nor has it contributed towards it.



HC Deb 17 October 2002 vol 390 cc494-570

Paul Flynn (Newport, West) 

In June, a group of scientists from America packed a container with uranium, loaded it on a train in Austria and sent it through Turkey and across the sea to America. They landed it on the American coast, and it is now lodged in the heart of New York. They did that to make the point that although the container went through border controls and tests—it was active uranium, so it should have been detected—no one detected it.

We should ask what is the greatest risk. There is no safe course ahead, but we must find the least perilous course. We all felt a chill of fear when we saw the pictures of the chemical weapons protection suit that has now been issued to frontline health service workers and when we heard that they have had smallpox injections.

One of my worst experiences during my 15 years as a Member of Parliament was when someone from the city of Newport came back from the Gulf war in a body bag. As a supporter of the Gulf war and of all the other military actions taken by the present and previous Governments, I find myself deeply unhappy with the present proposals because we are taking the wrong course.

What frightens me, as I am sure it frightens everyone, is the terrible nature of biological weapons, which make no distinction between warrior and civilian, young and old, Christian or Muslim. There could be terrible destruction, with diseases that have been dormant since medieval times being unleashed. We know that Saddam Hussein has biological and chemical weapons, but what is the risk? I believe that the greatest or only risk—the only conceivable situation in which he is likely to use the weapons will arise if there is a military invasion of his country. We have heard today that he is a wicked, evil man. He is indeed, but he is not a suicidal maniac.

Every time that Saddam Hussein has attacked a group of people, he has done so in the certainty in his own mind that he was going to win. When he attacked the Kurds in Halabjah, he knew that the rest of the world was not interested and would not help them. When he attacked Iran, he was again certain that the Ayatollah was a weak leader whose country was in chaos, and he was sure that he would have an easy victory. He attacked Kuwait in the belief that the American ambassador had given him an assurance that the Americans would not intervene. Under what circumstances would this man, the great survivor, attack another state? Under what circumstances would he use his weapons of mass destruction?

I do not know of any plausible scenario except one, and it is the one that we are walking straight into. If he is defeated and is in one of his palaces, like Hitler in the Berlin bunker, he might use his biological weapons—not by using his ramshackle missiles, which are useless and cannot be sent far, but by doing a deal with his 540ideological antithesis, al-Qaeda. In those circumstances, he might well do that, and the horror that we all dread might take place.

The change in the world situation resulted not from what happened on 11 September but from the election of George W. Bush. We should examine the right-wing fundamentalists who are now in government in America and their plans for a new American century, which were drawn up before they took office. They are now fulfilling those plans, which did not start last September. They started when Bush was elected, with a rogue state creation programme.

When Bush took office, the situation between North and South Korea was one of rapprochement. It was going very well, but George W. Bush immediately cancelled a meeting that had been arranged by Madeleine Albright. He tried to turn that rapprochement into antagonism. A mythology was spread about the danger of missiles from North Korea hitting Seattle, when the North Koreans had great difficulty in targeting its missiles on South Korea. He made sure that the situation deteriorated.

The position in respect of Iran was an improving one over many years. There were visits from representatives from western countries, but President Bush has made sure that the situation has grown far worse. With Iraq, there was stability for almost 10 years. Iraq had been contained by the bombing programme, which I fully supported. The inspectors left because they were fed up; they believed that they were close to finding significant weapons, but left because they believed that there was going to be bombing of the sites that they could not inspect. There might have been some justification for action then, but there is no justification now.

The plans from PNAC—the project for the new American century—make alarming reading. They were drawn up not last year, but in 2000. One of them speaks of the American armed forces asthe cavalry on the new American frontier. The blueprint supports a document written by Wolfowitz and Cheney—Pearl and Rumsfeld are also involved—that says that the US mustdiscourage advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global role. They talk of regime change not only in Iraq but in Syria and Iran. However, their greatest target is China, which they see as the next state that might challenge them as a new world power.

In an extraordinary speech, the hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood (Mr. Wilkinson) suggested that we could become a vassal state of America by abandoning a dearly cherished policy of this country, and of almost all Council of Europe countries—our opposition to capital punishment. Suddenly, we should accept that.

The Americans have said that they regard the United Kingdom as the most effective and efficient means of exercising American global leadership. That was and is Bush’s policy. He has used the dreadful events of 11 September to accelerate that policy. Most people have forgotten the events that occurred before then.

The hon. Member for Ruislip-Northwood made an interesting point, although we would take his expert views on South America a little more seriously if he had 541not been an apologist for certain aspects of Pinochet’s actions. The hon. Gentleman referred to Colombia. The United States’ attempt to impose its failed policies of drug prohibition on a vassal state had dreadful results, leading to continuous chaos and at least three armies, two of which were funded by drugs. What if we apply that policy to Afghanistan? We went in because the Taliban were protecting al-Qaeda. That was a justified objective, and it was successful up to a point. However, another objective was to eliminate the drugs trade from Afghanistan. At the time, as the United Nations has reported, the Taliban had reduced by 92 per cent. the growth of poppies in their areas, whereas the Northern Alliance had increased by 300 per cent. the growth of poppies in their areas.

Our victory in Afghanistan, if that is what it was, did not decrease the use of drugs and the growth of the drug trade, but if we had gone in with the same policy as the Americans pursued towards Colombia, the drug trade would have expanded in Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and the country formerly known as Burma, now Myanmar. The worry is that by following the policies of the United States we will see the Colombia-isation of a whole area of mid-Asia.

I have another concern that is discussed only rarely. We have heard of star wars, but other weapons are being planned and may exist. A very interesting one is HAARP—the high frequency active auroral research programme. The Americans view it as having innocent intentions, but it terrifies the Soviet Union and many other countries because its effect has been described as boiling the ionosphere. Terrible weapons might exist beyond the ones of which we are aware.

It is significant that the document on the project for a new American century refers to combat likely to take place in new dimensions, in space, cyberspace, and perhaps the world of microbes. It says that advanced forms of biological warfare that can target specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool. The people who wrote that and believe that it is the future are in charge of the only superpower in the world. It is a tragedy that we have not taken a more critical stance and challenged them in the way that leaders of other European countries have done.

Finally, I thought that the best speech that I have read, possibly in my life time, on how to deal with the world, how to deal with the third world and how to guarantee peace was made by the Prime Minister at last year’s Labour party conference. I urge him to take some time off to read his own words. We should take the least dangerous course, not the most dangerous one.

Rendezvous with Ranjiv

Posted in Paedophilia by earthling on February 9, 2014


Alternative title: The Prince, the guru, the sci-fi writer and a didgeridoo!

And AGAIN, Prince Charles is associated with one. There is a long list of people now connected with Prince Charles isn’t there? Jimmy Savile, Sai Baba, the ex Bishop of Gloucester – Peter Ball (Charles has provided the bespectacled cleric with a grace- and-favour mansion on his Duchy of Cornwall estate in Somerset) and Arthur C Clarke.

1352975002146.cached 358077_1

Before moving on to Clarke, here is a Sunday People article regarding the relationship between Charles and Sai Baba. Now, isn’t it interesting that MI6 were involved and advised Prince Charles of Sai Baba’s perverted activities? But then they would would’t they? Because the British Intelligence Services swear allegiance to Her Majesty – this is why it is “Her Majesty’s Secret Service” of course. So then, once more, ask yourself the question: Do you think for one second that the Windsors did not know about and were not advised about Jimmy Savile? If you do, then you are simply deluding yourself.


Paedophile Guru in bid to snare Charles Sunday People U.K. – March 12, 2001

MI6 are probing bizarre sect’s link with the Royals 

A PERVERT guru who believes he can sexually abuse young boys because he is GOD has tried to lure Prince Charles into his sinister religious sect. He has enlisted some of the Prince’s closest associates in his move – and the future King has admitted he has considered meeting the swami. Yet we can reveal the FBI and police forces round the world and even a senior UN organisation are already investigating millionaire mystic Sai Baba over scores of alleged sex and other crimes. Now MI6 are probing his bizarre movement’s links with Buckingham Palace.


For, the Sunday People can reveal, he planned to increase his worldwide influence by converting Charles into one of his millions of followers. The tiny pot-bellied holy man – who wears orange frocks and sports a 70s-style Afro hairdo – enlisted the help of one of the prince’s most-trusted advisors. He hoped that architect Professor Keith Critchlow would be able to persuade Charles to visit his temple, or “ashram”, in southern India.

Amazingly, we have obtained a copy of a letter which Charles wrote to another of Baba’s high-powered disciples within royal circles. In it, he says: “Keith (Critchlow) has often told me about Sai Baba and the effect he has had on many people and it is wonderful to know of the difference he has made to your life. “Perhaps I will be able to meet him one day when the time is right.”

The letter is signed: “Yours most sincerely, Charles.”

At the time, the prince was unaware that Sai Baba was being investigated for sex crimes. Nor did he know that there were also allegations of fraud and widespread financial corruption. UNESCO has also withdrawn support for a conference they were going to co-organise with Sai Baba. And the Foreign Office is now warning British travellers to India to be wary of the group. A senior legal figure linked to Sai Baba’s victims discovered the guru’s plan to target the prince and alerted M16. Sai Baba, the son of a humble peasant farmer, has a massive worldwide following, including at least 40,000 supporters in the UK.

Millions of families with children flock to his luxurious temple, near Bangalore in southern India, to pay homage. But to gain respectability for his movement, Sai Baba has deliberately set out to target showbiz stars, leading politicians, and royals as VIP supporters. Among them is 70-year-old Animal Hospital presenter and children’s favourite Rolf Harris. He claimed the guru’s teachings had transformed his life and played his famous didgeridoo on a fund-raising CD of mystic chants. Another disciple is British blues singer Dana Gillespie. But Sai Baba’s biggest dream was to ensnare a member of the British Royal Family.

Concert pianist David Bailey, who got involved with the movement during the early 90s, told how he and Prof Critchlow held several meetings in India with the guru. And one time Critchlow asked him: “Isn’t it time for me to bring Prince Charles out to see you?”

Bailey said: “The organisation loved to get celebrities in the fold. They were invited to Baba’s birthday parties.   “At the time I was completely besotted and like other devotees thought I’d win brownie points by recruiting influential people.”


Bailey even tried to “hook” Prince Andrew and Fergie before their marriage broke up. He said: “I had been asked to organise an evening of music at their home and, to put it bluntly, planned to start brainwashing them. “But the evening was cancelled at the last minute.” Fergie did later pay Sai Baba a private visit in 1997 on the recommendation of a stress counsellor following her marriage break-up. The guru likes to amaze followers by passing off cheap conjuring tricks as “miracles” and producing watches and jewellery out of thin air. And he astonished Fergie by making the bangle appear apparently from nowhere.

Bailey finally turned his back on the sect after learning the disgusting truth about Sai Baba’s sexual perversions. He has spent the last two years exposing the bogus holy man, who likes to rub oil into boys’ genitals claiming it helps release their sexual tension. Bailey, who once worked as a music teacher at the Indian temple, explained: “To my horror, I found out he was a homosexual paedophile.” Now every attempt is being made to ensure Sai Baba is kept away from Charles and other royals.

Now on to Arthur C Clarke….

Arthur C Clarke bisexual

PRINCE CHARLES is long departed, but the furore over Arthur C Clarke’s sex life, which erupted nearly three weeks ago on the eve of the prince’s visit to Sri Lanka, refuses to die down.

The scientific visionary and novelist who has lived in the former British colony for 42 years was to have been knighted by the prince during the latter’s visit to the island for the celebration of the golden jubilee of Sri Lanka’s independence. But days before the planned investiture, the Sunday Mirror accused Clarke of being a confirmed paedophile. Clarke asked for the ceremony to be postponed to avoid embarrassing the prince.

Reaction in the island nation, where the allegations received minimal publicity, was slow to come. But last Thursday the influential Buddhist clergy joined two nationalist groups and a Christian organisation in demanding that the charges, which Clarke has vigorously denied, be investigated. Yesterday, Sri Lankan police took the first step by interviewing the friend of Clarke whose testimony to the Sunday Mirror had been particularly damaging.

Dayanada de Silva, director of current affairs at the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Authority, was quoted in the Sunday Mirror as saying: “Arthur likes casual affairs with lots of different boys. If I think he might like one of my boys, I give them his phone number, he asked me to. The last time I saw Arthur, a few months ago, he was still having casual sex with boys. The boys do it for money, and money is nothing to Arthur C Clarke.”

A senior Sri Lankan police officer yesterday said: “Mr de Silva was interviewed this evening and the investigation will continue from then on. After all the persons have been interviewed we will have to go and interview Mr Clarke, perhaps this week.”

Clarke has enjoyed a position of enormous respect and prestige in Sri Lanka. He is chancellor of the University of Moratuwa, outside the capital, Colombo, and founder and patron of the Arthur C Clarke Centre for Modern Technologies nearby. He is a friend of the president, Chandrika Kumaratunga, and was the only foreign-born resident listed in a recent survey of the nation’s most distinguished individuals.

After the Sunday Mirror’s allegations were published, Clarke told The Independent that he believed they were “not aimed specifically at me but designed to embarrass Prince Charles. I have not been sexually active for more than 20 years.” Several days later he issued a more robust rejection of the charges. “Having always had a particular dislike of paedophiles,” he said, “few charges can be more revolting to me than to be classed as one. The allegations are wholly denied. My conscience is perfectly clear.”

Last week, nationalist and children’s rights groups called for Clarke to be deported. And the Buddhist clergy added their own weighty voice. “For the public to feel completely assured about Mr Clarke’s innocence, the allegations should also be independently found to be false,” the monks said.

Arthur C Clarke 1

Arthur C Clarke 2

The above reports suggest that the Police in Sri Lanka found the affidavits to be falsified – where is the evidence of this? We just accept the report and then it all goes away. But then, isn’t that exactly what the monarchy would wish? For it all just to “go away”?

However, we then hear this, from a report in 2012. Sufficient time, then for it all to have blown over and, once again, it is “old news” – a little like the 30 year rule which the government applies to every piece of information, such as the Common market and the EU, which, when released 30 years later, is “old news” and “We need to look forward not look back”. They have it all sewn up purely through the very law they write. While, if something slips out which isn’t meant to, it’s dealt with – like Dr Kelly (Iraq WMDs) and Robin Cook (“Al Qaeda, the CIA database”).


The News of the World spiked an exclusive story exposing the science fiction writer Arthur C Clarke as a paedophile, according to a new book about life inside the newspaper whose closure was announced a year ago today.

In Hack, an account of his nerve-shredding days as a reporter on the News of the World and then the Sunday Mirror, Graham Johnson claims that although the NOTW prided itself on outing pederasts, editors made an exception for Mr Clarke because he was a friend of Rupert Murdoch.

Through BSkyB, the tycoon commercially exploited the futurologist’s theory that satellites would be ideal for communications and praised him in public. As a result, according to Mr Johnson, who by that time had been sacked by the NOTW and had joined the Sunday Mirror, a story by reporter Roger Insall about Mr Clarke’s alleged abuse of adolescent boys was never published for fear of upsetting the proprietor.

Tipped off about the story, the Sunday Mirror sent Mr Johnson to Colombo, where he extracted an confession from the author that he paid boys for sex. “I have never had the slightest interest in children – boys or girls. They should be treated in the same way. But once they have reached the age of puberty, then it is OK,” Mr Clarke was quoted as saying in the Sunday Mirror. “If the kids enjoy it and don’t mind it doesn’t do any harm … there is a hysteria about the whole thing in the West.”

Mr Clarke subsequently denied he was a paedophile, saying: “The allegations are wholly denied.” But he never sued the Sunday Mirror and died aged 90 at his Sri Lanka home in 2008.

Speaking to The Independent yesterday, Mr Johnson said: “Roger [Insall] said that because Arthur C Clarke was a mate of Rupert Murdoch, the editor wasn’t having any of it and despite Roger getting a lot of evidence that Clarke was a paedophile they wouldn’t publish it.”

Yesterday, Phil Hall, the then editor, said: “I can vaguely remember that story. I do remember that Roger Insall worked on it and I remember it was not published. My only recollection is that the only reason we wouldn’t publish it was because of legal reasons.”

He said Mr Murdoch never asked him to spike stories. News International, publisher of the NOTW, made no comment.

Of course, Clarke was also a member of the “Humanist Society” – nice title isn’t it? But as we see from the Corrie actress and the eugenics storyline, and as we know from so many other titles of these elite organisations, they relate to quite the opposite of what they try to portray.

Humanism 1

Humanism 2

Harvey Weistein:

In September 2009, Weinstein publicly voiced opposition to efforts to extradite Roman Polanski from Switzerland to the U.S. regarding 1977 charges of unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old, to which Polanski had pled guilty before fleeing the country.[20] Weinstein, whose company had distributed a film about the Polanski case, questioned whether Polanski committed any crime,[21] promptingLos Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley to insist that Polanski’s guilty plea indeed qualified his action as a crime, and that several other more serious charges were still pending.

Edward O. Wilson:

“To bring the world’s 6bn people using today’s technology up to the level of the average American will require four more Planet Earths.”

“I’ll probably get it in the neck from my conservationist colleagues, but we’ve got to go all out on genetically modified crops. There doesn’t seem to be any other way of creating the next green revolution without GMOs.”

George Soros:

Not a lot needs said. The name itself tells you all you need to know.

However, there was the likes of Carl Sagan in the Humanist Society and, although I have not fully researched into Sagan, what I do know of him is all quite positive but then, did he believe in real humanism? You see, he did not promote atheism. He was an honest guy who tended to reflect my own thoughts: Who knows?

But organisations can have all sorts within them. It is who STEERS them which matters and you can rest assured that someone like Soros will be more prone to that steering than the likes of Carl Sagan. Sagan was a scientist not a politician and revolutionary.


However, the bottom line is this: These elites all seem to like their Rendezvous’ with Ranjiv’s, Ranjit’s, Tom’s, Dick’s and Harry’s. And they get away with it especially if they’re Knighted!

Nudge nudge wink wink! “Yes indeed your heinous!”

Coronation Street paedophilia: “Wild Bill” CockRoache!

Posted in Paedophilia by earthling on February 6, 2014

Subtle programming and subliminal advertising from our loveys at the “Street” once again…..

But I still know of a few people who will either just ignore it or make an excuse. Dear friends, brands and products pay big money to have their product advertised subtly in TV shows and movies. This DVD is NOT there by accident. It has been placed there very purposefully.

I wonder if Ken bought a copy?


Now let’s consider the number of alleged pedophiles we have had from Coronation street so far. And is it just the tip of the iceberg? Well, we know Jimmy Savile was just a tip, we know there are quite a few in government circles (QUITE a few) and we have 4 known alleged paedos from Corrie:

Corrie paedos

Now who, precisely is “Kinsey”? Well Alfred Kinsey just so happens to have been a sexuality behavioural scientist – pretty much a pervert then to all intents and purposes. However, it went further than that while the Kinsey Institute are never going to admit it are they?

His projects gained funding from the Rockefeller Foundation and the National Research Council in 1942 so established the Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction at Indiana. He conducted interviews from 5,300 males and 5,940 females on which he based his groundbreaking works.

The research work of Alfred Kinsey almost ended after the release of “Sexual Behavior in the Human Female”. He had allegedly offended thousands of Americans and the U.S. congress exerted pressure on Dean Rusk, the incharge of the Rockefeller Foundation, to unilaterally terminate the financial support of the institute.

After failing to raise funding from other means, Kinsey unfortunately gave up his extraordinary efforts that revolutionized sexuality research. The institute, however, survived and is still functioning as an independent organization under Indiana University.

Alfred Kinsey died on August 25, 1956 of a heart ailment and pneumonia. He was 62 years old.

Now, let’s look at the paedophilia:

A Yorkshire Television Production for Channel 4.

So what’s the Kinsey Institute’s mission today?

Kinsey Institute

The Kinsey Institute today is soft soaping (sorry couldn’t resist the “soap” terminology there) the entire issue on their website and it is highly likely that many of those interested in the Institute today will never have even heard about the Yorkshire TV production. I question whether they’d even want to know or care?

From the Kinsey Institute website regarding the “allegations”:

Allegations about Childhood data in the 1948 book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male

Allegations about Childhood data in the 1948 book, Sexual Behavior in the Human Male

Allegations against Alfred Kinsey and his research on children’s sexual responses, as reported in Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, were first made in 1981 by Dr. Judith Reisman. She subsequently enlarged on these ideas in a book written jointly with Edward Eichel and published in 1990 (Kinsey, Sex, and Fraud). When The Kinsey Institute responded, Reisman filed suit in 1991 against The Kinsey Institute, then director June Reinisch, and Indiana University, alleging defamation of character and slander. In September 1993, Reisman’s lawyer withdrew from the case, and in June 1994 the court dismissed Reisman’s case with prejudice (which means that Reisman is prohibited from refiling the suit).

Below is a reiteration of these accusations, recently reported, and the Institute’s response.

The act of encouraging pedophiles to rape innocent babies and toddlers in the names of “science” offends. The act of protecting them from prosecution offends. The act of falsifying research findings which, in turn, open the floodgates for the sexual abuse of children, offends. (from Dr. Laura’s (Schlesinger) website)

This would be a cause of great concern if it were true. Kinsey was not a pedophile in any shape or form. He did not carry out experiments on children; he did not hire, collaborate, or persuade people to carry out experiments on children. He did not falsify research findings and there is absolutely no evidence that his research “opened flood gates for the sexual abuse of children.” Kinsey did talk to thousands of people about their sex lives, and some of the behaviors that they disclosed, including abuse of children, were illegal. In fact, many sexual behaviors, even those between married adults, were illegal in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Without confidentiality, it would have been impossible to investigate the very private lives of Americans then, and even now.

Where did Kinsey’s information about children’s sexual responses come from?

Kinsey clearly stated in his male volume the sources of information about children’s sexual responses. The bulk of this information was obtained from adults recalling their own childhoods. Some was from parents who had observed their children, some from teachers who had observed children interacting or behaving sexually, and Kinsey stated that there were nine men who he had interviewed who had sexual experiences with children who had told him about how the children had responded and reacted. We believe that one of those men was the source of the data listed in the book.

In a British documentary, a woman says she was sexually abused by her father and grandfather, and that her father justified it as doing research for Alfred Kinsey by filling out questionnaires. 

We have no reason to doubt that this woman was sexually abused. However, Kinsey did not ask people to fill out questionnaires. It is conceivable that this woman’s father or grandfather wrote to Kinsey, as many people have done. Following that documentary, we checked through Kinsey’s correspondence and could not find any that would match this story. We do know that there have been people who have used Kinsey’s name to justify what they do sexually, even recently.

Kinsey used a Nazi SS officer from Germany as one of his key contributors

In Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Kinsey invited people to write to him about their sex lives. In 1955, a German wrote to him and told him about his sexual experiences with children. Kinsey, in his reply, was non-judgmental, as usual. He did however point out how strongly society condemned such behavior. Kinsey never made use of the information from this man. He also had no idea that this man had been a Nazi ten years earlier…. To suggest that Kinsey had something to do with Nazi torture of children is a bizarre fabrication.

Allegations and Controversy, 1995-1998

More Controversy about Childhood data
Soon after John Bancroft, M.D., assumed the directorship of The Kinsey Institute in 1995, he was called upon to respond to an allegation by the Family Research Council (FRC) about data on pre-adolescent orgasm that the late Dr. Alfred Kinsey had included 50 years ago in Chapter 5, “Early Sexual Growth and Activity,” of Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (W.B. Saunders, 1948).

In the fall of 1995, Rep. Steve Stockman, Galveston, Texas, took up the FRC allegation, circulating a letter on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, in which he asked for support for a bill he had introduced to investigate Dr. Kinsey’s research. Stockman alleged that this data was derived from federally funded sexual molestation of children (the so-called “Children of Table 34”). Although Stockman’s staff were invited to put any questions to The Kinsey Institute and Indiana University, they declined. Stockman held a press conference December 7, 1995, calling for a congressional hearing. No hearing was held and the bill died. Stockman was defeated in the 1996 election.

In 1997, Concerned Women for America referred to this allegation in a press release with a renewed call for a Congressional investigation. In January 1998, Indiana State Representative Woody Burton submitted a House Concurrent Resolution to the Indiana General Assembly regarding Kinsey. In August 1998, a British television station produced a program based heavily on these allegations.

But then why would the UK or British governments wish to consider any action? After all, we have this:



ALL of it “alleged” you understand!

But lastly, don’t you get the feeling there’s more to this Kinsey Institute than just purely wholesome sex?

Of all things, they advertise erotic art with a cover photo showing the Goat of Mendes (Satan) about to spear a woman, from behind, with his obscured, erect weapon.

Kinsey 1

Not so subtle then!

OPEN YOUR MIND – Utter tripe!

Posted in Uncategorized by earthling on February 4, 2014

This is the sort of thing I’m meaning when I make comments like “people are fricking idiots” and “the alternative media circus” etc.

Adults? Are we sure we’re not talking about overgrown pre-pubescents?  This TRIPE is shoved down your throat as “truth” and they have the nerve to say this programme was about identifying disinfo agents and/or controlled opposition?

Considering it’s an irish programme, it reminded me of a bunch of people from MI5 infiltrating the IRA but, instead of blowing people’s limbs off, they’re attempting to short circuit sane, logical reasoning. Plus some of them have the audacity to refer to David Icke and TPV as “controlled opposition” (which I am in no doubt it is but have no proof of but plenty of circumstantial suggestion of – BIG e.g. acceptance by OFCOM, while I know it’s a money game for sure).

Sharon Gifford makes an appearance on this but doesn’t get a lot to say because she’s jammed in between two blokes talking about shit! Absolute utter crap! Perhaps that’s why she had nothing much to add? I’d be sitting in the background listening pissing myself too.

Jump to 40 mins in when Sharon appears (if you wish to listen to this shit at all. I did to hear what Sharon had to say but was disappointed that she could hardly get her tongue in edgeways and realised it was one of the worst 90 minutes I’ve spent in my life and will never get the time back!)

So, I thought, I may as well make use of the shit I heard.

Comments related to points these people made….

Tony you are treated brilliantly (at TPV) superficially and everyone is always very nice (on the face of it). And I was initially “impressed” by the “niceness” of the people I met just as you were. But it collapsed very quickly. Do you remember when Tony Blair got into office? In fact any politician who wants your vote? Do you remember Gordon Brown talking to the woman outside the car then when he got in it he calls her a bigot? It’s all very simple you know.

The host (Alan) is an apologist to TPV/Icke (as are the vast majority of alternative stations) because he does not wish to upset Icke. After all, getting David Icke on your show and staying “in” with him provides possibilities doesn’t it? I haven’t yet come across a major (or relatively minor) alternative media group who have picked up on the info I have launched and acknowledged the facts and absolutely logical extrapolations from them. Why? The same reason I have no doubt. Can’t criticise the Icke. You bunch of yellow bellied prats!

No, there is more to it than a lack of management skills by David Icke. Sean is the gatekeeper of the this isn’t he? Even a bad manager cannot possibly be that fricking incompetent Alan! If you think that is even slightly acceptable then my god man, you must be just as fcuking incompetent!

A commenter says Alan (host) sounds like controlled oppositen. Strangely, that is what I was thinking.

Miles Johnston – “Predators who look like us” – bullshit. Total fucking bullshit. Here we go with reptilian entities from other planets again.

Alan asks Sharon for research to prove a negative (that the predator does not exist). He does not ask Miles for proof of the positive. Total disinfo agent.

Alan: Makes a statement in response to Miles’ statement regarding something about “they” having whatever technology he was talking about at the time: “I’m sure they have” says Alan. Based on what Alan? Just a statement with no supportive facts. Just “I’m sure they have”. Just as Sharon says she doesn’t think there is such a thing as a Predator race (alien) and you ask for her proof that there isn’t, I ask you for proof of you being sure of Miles’s statement. I’m sure there are alien beings on Saturn’s moons which look like the Michelin man. Prove there isn’t Alan!

Oh jesus – Tony Z. “predator people from other star systems and the DNA is not from our planet or local to this area of space”???? What fucking bullshit whether Darwinian theory is rubbish or not.

Miles: “We’re all extraterrestrials from different planets”. Oh give me a fcuking break!

“Because white people don’t like the sun and get burned, we couldn’t have evolved on earth.” That’s one of his “proofs”. So there you go folks. Alan is convinced by these sorts of proofs.

Miles: “Independent” The People’s Voice? HOW CAN IT BE INDEPENDENT (in this case meaning free of infiltration or control) when it doesn’t do the non comply dance for OFCOM? Stop talking shit man.

Miles: “Fix this problem – adults” talking about Predators from other star systems? Grow up for christ’s sakes!

“Read biogenic fields like an IP address”. These people are all disinfo – “hacking into your energy field”. Where’s the proof Alan?

Miles: “zero point energy if available to the predator then it’s lights out for us but it’s being held back by the ET’s (whoever they are)”

So Miles and TonyZ keep talking about this zero point energy as if we have it. They keep repeating that we have it. Well where the fcuk is it guys? Oh I see? There are ETs in possession of it so we can’t get it (and they are keeping it away from the predator race too?). So then, if the ET’s have it then how can you say we have it? And we’ve always had it when you say a bunch of ET’s have it? Have they landed at various times and shown us it? But then they’ve said “Well no, we can’t give it to you because it may fall into the predator’s hands”? Sounds like the big fear of America and Britain saying they fear nukes will fall into the terrorist’s hands while we allow our corporations who develop all the technology to sell it all over the world with a few export licence problems here and there. As if Export licence’s are going to stop a fricking terrorist getting his hands on a weapon! Perhaps we should sign a trade agreement with the ET’s lads and tell them to deal with the UKTI on the Export Licence issue. Surely if we sign an export licence with them they’ll give us the technology?

I have to say I concur with their comments on TETRA (the Police and public utilities communications system) however, to just throw such allegations willy nilly without supporting them is dangerous and wrong. I wonder if either of them could have, if put on the spot, explained more about what TETRA is and the frequency at which it works and how, exactly, that may interfere with a person’s biological system? I somehow doubt it.

Again, Tony says we have free energy but as Miles says, we don’t because the ET’s are holding it back. So how do we know we have it if we’re not given it? While both men seem to agree that some extraterrestrial race has it. I mean the logic in this shit is out of the window. You’d get more sense from Mark Windows and that’s saying something.

“ALL the solutens for free energy have always been there”. Where? List these solutions and then show them working! Oh, you can’t? Why? Because the ET’s have them. I see. CUCKOO!!!!!!!!

Miles: “Politicians are bought and owned by this predator”. Jesus christ! Perhaps we should get Sly Stallone to look at the issue. He once had a problem with a Predator didn’t he? Oh! THAT’S where you got the idea from? Aha! nudge nudge wink wink. Your secret’s safe with me Miles!

Miles: “We need a working TPV in mainstream.” How do you get on mainstream Miles without complying with the state?

And the “Awake” want to change the world and beat the New World Order. But they’ve just found out a race of predator Aliens need to be stopped first before we can save earth. No-one’s ever seen one of these predator aliens but that is no excuse for saying they don’t exist! Goddamn it, PROVE they don’t exist! Prove Michelin men on Mimos don’t exist!

Sad, man. Bloody sad!

It’s a shame you think Icke is cointelpro Miles, because otherwise, he would have loved you! Perhaps he didn’t wish to talk to you because he thought “There’s one nutter in here already.. and that’s me. I don’t need another one!”