Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Hoon's secret

The best thing about being a journalist is the feeling you get just before you break a controversial story.

It’s like telling someone a secret, but instead you’re going to tell thousands of people all at once – a thousand jaws dropping.

Today Geoff Hoon has the exact opposite of that feeling. A low, rumbling dread at what is about to become clear.

The cabinet papers from March 7 to 17 which are about to be released – despite the best efforts of the Cabinet Office – should tell us what Tony Blair, and Hoon thought of the legal case for going to war.

What hacks will be looking for is any suggestion that either were not fully confident in the case or that they thought they might have to push it or spin it in some way to make it support what they had already decided.

And all on a day when the Commons will debate the third runway at Heathrow – who’d be a cabinet minister.

UPDATE: Just spoken to the Cabinet Office - they've not set a release date which suggests they're considering appealling the tribunal's decision. That means going to the High Court.

12 comments:

Sue said...

They may just get away with releasing this one which would of course be scandalous. I expect Blair is non too happy at the prospect either!

IanPJ said...

In a letter sent on Nov 9 2006 to a Commons watchdog on EU legislation, the cross-party European Scrutiny Committee, Mr Hoon said "the Government will support measures even where it had doubts about the legal base".

If this was his attitude when Europe minister giving away our Sovereignty, I doubt his tune would have changed when in charge of Defence and taking us into war.

http://tinyurl.com/37c3qt

Lobbydog said...

That's interesting Ian. Can you direct me to where I can find a copy on the web?

subrosa said...

I 'hae ma doots' about how useful these papers will be to the public. My suspicion is they'll be covered with tippex on the grounds of 'data protection' and 'confidentiality' rules. These then will have to be argued. Could take some time before even a slither of information comes to light.

Lobbydog said...

Found it cheers Ian.

Lobbydog said...

You may well be right Subrosa. In fact the decision notice from the Tribunal already says that parts have been "redacted". But the Government are fighting the release of the rest of it as well, which suggests we may still get lucky. Fingers crossed.

subrosa said...

Well researched Ian and thanks. For some reasons Scots aren't quite as interested in EU matters as the English. Maybe it's because the EU is another 500 miles from the seat of government which dictates to us now.

Lobbydog said...

Subrosa - on that note and FYI Lord Barnet is giving evidence on the Barnet Formula to a Lords Committee at 4.30pm today, you'll be able to listen in here...

http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/Live.aspx

subrosa said...

Thanks LD. Am watching it now.

subrosa said...

Pity the Scottish Budget vote is on at the same time.

Andy said...

Michael Howard was on the Today prog yesterday saying he didn't really care if the minutes were released or not as they were likely to be totally anodyne.

subrosa said...

By anodyne he meant 'doctored' then Andy?

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