Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The Butler Report

The Guardian, Tuesday, July 13

The Guardian reports that the "Whitehall consensus" is that Downing Street will be cleared of one of the potentially most serious allegations of "leaning" on the attorney general to change his advice on the legality of the war. It also quotes ITV as claiming that John Scarlett will specifically be mentioned as deserving of his new post as MI6 chief.

. . .

Opposition politicians, who will be allowed to read the report from 6am tomorrow, believe that Lord Butler will criticise No 10 for allowing intelligence to enter the public domain without the usual caveats. Ministers also fear that Lord Butler may take a dim view of the power of political figures, such as Alastair Campbell and Jonathan Powell, whose seniority may have "subconsciously influenced" intelligence officials, as Lord Hutton declared.

. . .

We'll know if Tony Blair will be Prime Minister for much longer or not, tomorrow at six GMT. If it's overly critical of the Blair government, with sentiment in the U.K. and on the Continent toward the mess in Iraq, he won't win the next election, maybe inspire a no confidence vote in Parliament. We'll see soon.

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