27 August 2004

MPs plan to impeach Blair over Iraq war record

Read A case to answer and then compare it with the prewar conduct of the Man of Steel. Australia's parliament probably retains the power of impeachment under Section 49 of the constitution. Sadly, the chances of the house of commons or the house of representatives impeaching either prime minister are vanishingly small.

MPs are planning to impeach Tony Blair for "high crimes and misdemeanours" in taking Britain to war against Iraq, reviving an ancient practice last used against Lord Palmerston more than 150 years ago.

Eleven MPs led by Adam Price, Plaid Cymru MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, are to table a motion when parliament returns that will force the prime minister to appear before the Commons to defend his record in the run-up to the war.

Nine of the MPs are Welsh and Scottish Nationalists, including the party leaders, Elfyn Llwyd, and Alex Salmond, and two are Conservative frontbenchers, Boris Johnson, MP for Henley and editor of the Spectator, and Nigel Evans, MP for Ribble Valley.

A number of Labour backbenchers are considering whether to back the motion, though it could mean expulsion from the party.

The MPs' decision follows the commissioning of a 100-page report which lays out the case for impeaching Mr Blair and the precedents for action, including arguments laid down in Erskine May, the parliamentary bible, on impeachments dating back to medieval times.

Both the Jull report and the Flood report speak about similar exaggerations by the Man of Steel. Flood calls the prewar intelligence on Iraq 'thin, ambiguous and incomplete'. somehow the thinness, ambiguity and incompleteness did not make it into the parliamentary speeches of the Man of Steel. Nor did the intelligence advice that the enterprise of Iraq would increase the terrorist threat.