Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Ann Clwyd and Tony Blair

Ann Clwyd deserves respect, not least for her longstanding commitment to investigating and publicly denouncing the human rights abuses of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq. She supported the invasion of Iraq because of those abuses, and there was no doubt whatever that her position was consistent throughout, and that there was immense moral strength to her argument.

If only one could have said the same of Tony Blair. In 1995 Ms Clwyd was the Opposition Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, only to find herself sacked for taking a trip to the Kurdish region of northern Iraq 'without permission'. The atrocities she had already exposed there were on an appalling scale, but the briefings from the Leader of the Opposition's office were to say that she was 'mad', and 'obsessed with Iraq'.

If Tony Blair had been a man of principle, he would have recognised that the position he took in 1995 left him looking hypocritical in his subsequent support of the US invasion, called into question his motives for doing so, and required that he resign. As a Prime Minister who was so happy to apologise for the failings of any Government bar his own, it's no surprise that he lacked even the decency to offer Ms Clwyd a public apology.

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