Dalyell to quiz Blair over documents
Monday May 12, 2003 9:28 AM
The Prime Minister has been challenged to explain why sensitive documents were left unprotected to be "exploited by journalists and others" in the Iraqi Foreign Ministry after the occupation of Baghdad by coalition forces.
Veteran labour MP Tam Dalyell, Father of the House of Commons, is also to question Tony Blair orally about the issue in Parliament on Wednesday.
Mr Dalyell, MP for Linlithgow, was referring to documents including those discovered by Daily Telegraph reporter David Blair, which showed, it is claimed, that MP George Galloway was in the pay of Saddam Hussein.
Mr Galloway, MP for Glasgow, Kelvin, has fiercely denied the accusation and has threatened the Daily Telegraph with an action for libel.
Last week, Mr Galloway was suspended from the Labour party, an action which he described as "unjust".
Mr Dalyell is to ask Mr Blair in the Commons what instructions coalition forces received about seizing documents in the Iraqi Foreign Ministry and the secret police HQ which were likely to form the basis for legal action.
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Dalyell said: "I acknowledge there may well be a difference between the British and American practices.
"However, depending on your answer on Wednesday, I may ask if the Commons can be told why documents held by the Iraqi authorities at the time of the coalition control of their offices were left unprotected to be exploited by journalists and others when these documents might have formed the basis for a prosecution or might have been destroyed to deny the probability of prosecution?
"If the coalition was serious about bringing Saddam Hussein and top associates to trial in a properly organised court which the world would not simply see as victors' justice.
"And if the coalition was serious about establishing the existence or otherwise of weapons of mass destruction, wouldn't the custody of such documents have been a priority as it certainly was with the advancing units of allied armies in Frankfurt and Berlin in April 1945?"
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