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Iraq dossier author's honour 'looks dodgy'

London Telegraph | December 31, 2006
Karyn Miller

The knighthood awarded to the man behind the Government's "sexed-up" dossier on Iraq has been condemned as "disgraceful" and "shameless".

Politicians and peace campaigners have hit out at the decision to honour the head of MI6, John Scarlett, who was in charge of the 2002 dossier that claimed Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons and could deploy them within 45 minutes.

The dossier was used by the Government to bolster the case for war, but the notorious 45-minute claim was formally abandoned in 2004.

The Hutton Inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly in 2003 heard evidence that Alastair Campbell, the Prime Minister's former director of communications, had pressed Mr Scarlett to make last-minute changes to the dossier, which was supposedly authored by the intelligence services.

However, Mr Scarlett, then the chairman of the Government's Joint Intelligence Committee, denied that crucial alterations resulted from Downing Street's intervention.

In the New Year's Honours list, published yesterday, Mr Scarlett is rewarded for "diplomatic service" and becomes a Knight Commander of the Order of St Michael and St George.

Angus MacNeil, the SNP MP whose complaint about alleged corruption in the honours system has led to a police investigation, said the honour "shows the shamelessness of Tony Blair".

A spokesman for the Stop the War Coalition said: "This is disgraceful. The dossier was dodgy and so is his knighthood."

 

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