21 Jan 2010

Jack Straw on Blix, 'Plan B' and Robin Cook…

Just time for a short entry this evening. Had part planned a mini-rant about why on earth Jack Straw – the war-time Foreign Secretary – was only being allocated a paltry three hour session by the Inquiry, but now of course we know he’ll be coming back for another one in about a fortnight.

So did we know before about Straw’s ‘Plan B,’ the alternative to joining the US in Iraq militarily which he says he proposed to Prime Minister Blair? Even if we did it was surely news that the plan was never mentioned to Cabinet for fear someone there would leak it.

Hints of real anger when the Justice Secretary described the actions of inspections chief Hans Blix and France’s Jacques Chirac. ‘The jury is out’ whether Blix had painted an accurate picture of his efforts to avert war or applied gloss, Straw said: pretty darned close to an outright allegation of lying I thought.

And on Chirac some surreal moments, for instance when the focus of debate became French phrases like ‘le soir’ and ‘quelles que soient les circonstances’. Lyne and Straw looked set to whip out their Larousses when the session was suddenly adjourned.

Odd too when Straw appeared to suggest that the panel take evidence from the late Robin Cook to confirm how he – Straw – had always insisted the war only proceed after parliamentary debate.

Back tomorrow from 10h00 with DfID and Treasury bigwigs. Apologies to anyone who was following twitter/iraqinquiryblog when we suddenly got frozen out; in future if it happens again we’ll automatically transfer across to twitter.com/channel4com as happened today.

We’ll get there in the end, promise x