Iraq: The Attorney-General’s advice to Blair leaked – Mail on Sunday
Three exclusives in the Mail on Sunday, the Telegraph and the Times this morning might change the agenda as we move into the final full week of the campaign. Probably the most serious is the reported leaking to the Mail on Sunday of the Attorney-General’s advice on the legality of the Iraq War and could provide the opening for the Lib Dems and the Tories to, once again, raise the issue of trust.
As Gaby Hinscliff reports it in the Observer “...The Iraq war was thrust dramatically into the election spotlight last night after long-sought government legal advice, cautioning that the invasion could be illegal, was leaked. The document appears to confirm for the first time that the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, had serious reservations about the legality of the conflict, only to change his mind as British and US troops massed on the border of Iraq ready to invade. The government has steadfastly refused all calls to publish the document, and its sudden disclosure is bound to have an explosive effect on the election campaign, reawakening the prickly issue of voters’ trust in Tony Blair, to the dismay of Labour MPs struggling to overcome anger over the war
BBC sends hecklers to bait Howard – Telegraph
The second story is the Telegraph lead alleging that the BBC have “admitted equipping three hecklers with microphones and sending them into a campaign meeting addressed by Michael Howard, the Conservative leader.” The BBC is a popular target for all politicians and the revelation might reinforce further wavering Tory voters.
The report goes on: “…The Tories have made an official protest after the hecklers, who were given the microphones by producers, were caught at a party event in the North West last week. Guy Black, the party’s head of communications, wrote in a letter to Helen Boaden, the BBC’s director of news, that the hecklers began shouting slogans that were “distracting and clearly hostile to the Conservative Party”. These included “Michael Howard is a liar”, “You can’t trust the Tories” and “You can only trust Tony Blair”….. The Telegraph has established that none of Tony Blair’s meetings was infiltrated or disrupted in similar fashion.”
Alistair Campbell memo says Labour has it in the bag – Sunday Times
The main story in the Sunday Times under the headline “Campbell: We’re home and dry” is of an upbeat memo from Alastair Campbell to members of Labour’s strategy team. This is precisely the impression the party is trying to avoid as turnout amongst its supporters is likely to be a decisive factor in the campaign. Assuming victory too early, even if true, can make it look as though you are taking the electorate for granted.
Betting prices seem to have been largely unaffected by the overnight poll news.