Release of Iraq war minutes vetoed





Details of cabinet discussions held in the run-up to the Iraq war are to be kept secret after the Government decided to take the unprecedented step of vetoing their publication.

Campaigners had demanded to see the minutes of two meetings, on 13 and 17 March 2003, amid allegations that the Cabinet failed to discuss properly or challenge the decision to invade Iraq. The legality of the war was also discussed at the meetings.

The Information Commissioner, Richard Thomas, had ordered the release of the minutes, arguing that their publication was in the public interest. His decision was supported by an independent tribunal last month.

But for the first time, the Government has decided to make use of "Section 53" of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, allowing it to veto the release of the documents. The clause was added to the Act as a way of placating ministers who wanted final control over the release of sensitive documents.



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