Is the Iraq war still an issue?

Is the Iraq war still an issue?

Will voters care about today’s Guardian revelations?

The extent to which the Iraq war will be a General Election issue could be tested by revelations in the Guardian today that the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith QC, warned Prime Minister Tony Blair less than two weeks before the invasion that military action could be deemed illegal.

According to the report, the Government was so concerned that it might be prosecuted that it set up a team of lawyers to prepare for legal action in an international court and a Parliamentary answer issued days before the war in the name of Lord Goldsmith was actually drawn up in Downing Street.

The advice of the Attorney-General has never been published and today’s revelation will, no doubt, lead to more calls that it should be and keep this in the headlines.

For Labour, as time has gone on, and particularly since the Iraqi elections in January, the issue of why Britain went to war in the first place has dropped down the agenda although the polls show that the proportion of people opposed to the military action remains very high.

The problem for the Tories is that it is hard for them to raise issues about the war because they supported it and whenever Michael Howard has tried to pursue specific matters the charge of him being “opportunistic” has been difficult to avoid.

For the Liberal Democrats the Guardian story could not have been better timed because they have tended to get drowned in the initial skirmishes of the election campaign and Sir Menzies Campbell is one of their most effecting spokesmen.

© Mike Smithson 2005

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