Araweelo News Network
London(ANN)-The British government has rejected MPs’ pleas for stronger checks to prevent a repeat of the 2003 invasion of Iraq which occurred on the order of then US President George W. Bush and with the help of then UK Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Last year in March, a Commons committee concluded that it remained “too easy for a prime minister to disregard cabinet procedures” when it came to making decisions of national importance.
That conclusion was in response to the Chilcot report into the Iraq War, which found Blair had excluded senior colleagues from vital judgments and bypassed officials when he told Bush, “I will be with you, whatever.”
Now, the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) says it is “disappointed” that the government had rebuffed key demands for greater scrutiny.
“The committee is disappointed with the Government’s response given the clear evidence of the need for improvements to public inquiries and government decision-making that the committee received,” the PACAC said.
“It is particularly concerned about the government’s failure to accept the case for stronger safeguards to ensure proper collective consideration by the Cabinet on decisions of national importance.”
A Commons report originally warned that the Iraq War left an “indelible scar on British politics,” noting that for many, “the Chilcot inquiry fails to provide closure on the Iraq issue.”
In addition, it called on MPs to reflect on how Parliament “could have been more critical and challenging of the government at the time,” highlighting the “seriousness” of the case made by Dr. Glen Rangwala, a Cambridge University politics lecturer, that the former prime minister “deliberately misled” the Commons.
According to the report, the cabinet secretary – the head of the civil service – should be able to formally object to a decision if made improperly, and request a prime minister to write a formal letter if they wanted to dodge proper procedure.
Other cabinet ministers or councilors then could see the letter and this would prevent leaders from acting inappropriately.
However, the government maintained there was “not an absence of safeguards” and that any extra checks could bring in “a degree of unnecessary antagonism between officials and the prime minister.”
It said that changes made since the Iraq War, such as the formation of the UN National Security Council, had made it easier to deal with situations like “group think.”
The US-led war and dismantling of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s regime plunged Iraq into chaos, resulting in years of deadly violence. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, more than 4,000 US troops and 179 British service members were killed in the lengthy conflict.