Gordon Brown at the Chilcot Enquiry - I knew nothing.
- Mr Brown said that he had been unaware of key questions surrounding the legality of the invasion, the intelligence used to justify the war publicly and Mr Blair’s secret “pledge” to join the United States in military action.
- ... the Prime Minister admitted he had been unaware of a number of controversial issues.
- Mr Brown acknowledged that he had not been present at a number of key meetings held by Mr Blair in the build-up to the invasion in March 2003.
- He said he did not see a Cabinet Office “options paper” in March 2002 which included the possibility of invading Iraq. The paper was prepared ahead of Mr Blair’s meeting at President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas.
- Mr Brown said he was also unaware of a series of highly confidential letters from Mr Blair to President Bush in which the Prime Minister is said to have “pledged” that Britain would join in the military action.
- Mr Brown also did not know that of Lord Goldsmith’s late change of view on the legality of the war. The Attorney-General had said in early 2003 that the invasion would be unlawful but told the Cabinet just days before the war that it would be legal.
- He was also unaware of doubts about evidence obtained by MI6 that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), including concerns from his Cabinet colleague Robin Cook, who was the only minister to resign over the war.
- “I do not recall a conversation with Robin about the intelligence. He may have mentioned that at the Cabinet, I cannot recall.”
The professionals seem to take issue with his claim to the Enquiry that "at every point we were asked to provide money and the resources for new equipment or for improving equipment, we made that money available”:
- Major-General Patrick Cordingley, who commanded 7th Armoured Brigade in the Gulf War and retired from the Army in 2000, said: “I think it is difficult to see how one’s conscience can be clear when it’s very obvious that the Armed Forces have been underfunded for many years. Despite enough money being available for operational requirements, it never overcame the capability gap that had grown up over the years.”
- Another senior defence source said: “If it was possible for us to do whatever we wanted to do then why has almost every other single witness to the inquiry said that the operation was undermanned and under-resourced?”
- General Lord Walker of Aldringham, the head of the Armed Forces at the time, had told the inquiry that senior commanders threatened to resign if cuts went much further.