On Monday, 22 April, the House of Lords condemned the two-year delay in the publication of the final report by the Chilcot Inquiry, caused by the Cameron Government. In 2011, Sir John Chilcot asked David Cameron to declassify as many documents as possible, particularly those relating to some communications between Bush and Blair. Mr Stephen Plowden, a private citizen living in London, on the basis of the Freedom of Information Act, has also requested the declassification of a telephone conversation between the two former Heads of State, which took place on 12 March 2003. The Foreign Office has thus far neutralized this request.
During Monday’s session, Liberal-Democrat Foreign Affairs spokesperson Lord Dykes asked the Leader of the House of Lords, conservative Lord Hill: “Can the Leader of the House reassure the House on a very important point-that high official circles in the UK and the US have not sought to interfere with the independent findings of the Chilcot inquiry, especially on the crucial decision to go to war together?” Lord Dykes already voiced his fear in an interview with Radio Radicale last November.
Minutes after Lord Butler (Independent), a former Cabinet Secretary and President of the "Butler Review", which in 2004 investigated the use of intelligence in the run-up to the Gulf war of 2003, took the floor and asked "Does the Leader of the House agree that […] the timing of the report's publication depends not just on the handling of the representations but on the Government's own clearance of what is to be included in the report? Will he undertake that that process will be done as quickly as the Government can manage?”
Meanwhile, three vacancies have opened in the 24-member Order of the Garter, as the Duke of Grafton, Viscount Ridley and Baroness Thatcher passed away recently. On Monday, H. M. Queen Elizabeth II chose one replacement: former Air Chief Marshall Lord Stirrup. Yet again a sneer in the face of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, as every former British Prime Minister (Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee, Anthony Eden, Harold Wilson, Jim Callaghan, Ted Heath, Margaret Thatcher and John Major) became a member of this Order.
So, why not Blair and Brown? Marco Pannella has an “explanation”, dating back to 29 April 2011, the day of the royal wedding between Kate and William. According to Pannella: “So far, only one institution has protected the honour, the legality and the Rule of Law against the reason of State, against the true betrayal of international law and of the United Kingdom itself: Her Majesty the Queen. She is the only one preserving and upholding the Rule of Law and the democratic institutions in the UK. Clearly, almost defiantly, in the exercise of her duties, she has in fact used the great traditions of the British State and Monarchy by refusing to honor those two former Prime Ministers with the Order of the Garter. This is even more interesting as the British Conservatives behave like heirs and guardians of the heritage left by Blair, as Obama is doing with Bush.”