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PQs for March 21st 2005
 
http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200405/cmhansrd/cm050321/text/50321w13.htm#50321w13.html_sbhd3
 

PRIME MINISTER

Attorney-General

Mr. Drew: To ask the Prime Minister how many times the Attorney-General has attended Cabinet since 2002; and on what issues he has produced written evidence for the Prime Minister. [222547]

The Prime Minister: Since 2002, the Attorney-General has attended Cabinet 24 times. There is a long-standing convention, observed by successive Governments, that the fact that the Law Officers have advised on a particular issue is not publicly disclosed. There is a strong public interest in allowing Government to have a clear space, immune from exposure to public view, in which it can debate matters internally with candour and free from the pressures of public political debate, including in deciding whether it should seek advice from its principal legal adviser, the Attorney-General.

Richard Ottaway: To ask the Prime Minister when the Attorney-General first gave him his advice on the case for war; and in what form. [221613]

The Prime Minister: As indicated in paragraph 374 of the Butler Report, the Attorney-General gave initial advice prior to the adoption of UN Security Council resolution 1441. The date of this advice is withheld as it relates to the formation of Government policy.

Llew Smith: To ask the Prime Minister how many pages constituted the legal opinion provided to Cabinet setting out the Attorney-General's advice on the legality of military action against Iraq in March 2003. [221740]

The Prime Minister: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer my right hon. Friend the Solicitor-General (Harriet Harman) gave him on 20 December 2004, Official Report, column 1335W, and to the letter of 10 March 2005 from the Attorney-General to my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Clare Short), copies of which are available in the Libraries of the House.

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Prime Minister whether the Attorney-General attended the whole of the meeting of the Cabinet on 17 March 2003. [221818]

The Prime Minister: The Attorney-General did attend the whole meeting of the Cabinet on 17 March 2003.

Lynne Jones: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the oral answer given on 9 March 2005, Official Report, column 1514 to the hon. Member for Linlothgow (Mr. Dalyell), in what form the oral report given by the Attorney-General was recorded in the notes of the Cabinet meeting; and when these notes were made available to the full Cabinet. [221920]

Mr. Simon Thomas: To ask the Prime Minister (1) whether the advice he received from the Attorney-General regarding the war in Iraq discussed in Cabinet on 17 March 2003 was placed before any other ministerial committee; [221817]

(2) whether the Cabinet meeting on 17 March 2003 discussed any business other than the advice of the Attorney-General regarding war with Iraq. [221819]


 
21 Mar 2005 : Column 569W
 

The Prime Minister: The proceedings of Cabinet and Cabinet Committee meetings are not generally disclosed, in order to ensure the protection of information whose disclosure would harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion