It's 10 years since the 'September dossier' built the case for war against Iraq. Two key players, Charles Falconer and Menzies Campbell, discuss its long-term impact
7 September 2012 - Menzies Campbell and Charles Falconer discuss the political legacy of the 2003 dossier on Iraq. Photograph: Martin Argles for the Guardian
This month sees the 10th anniversary of the September dossier, which formed the backbone of the case for the Iraq war. Sir Menzies Campbell was one of the few prominent politicians at the time to argue against intervention, while Lord Falconer, who was in the cabinet, became a supporter. So how do they reflect on the events of 10 years ago? Oliver Laughland chairs.
Menzies Campbell: The Liberal Democrat conference was taking place in Brighton but Charles Kennedy and I returned to the Commons because it had been recalled. We were sent a copy of the dossier and Charles handed it to me on the train. If you get something like that put in front of you, which appears authoritative, the likelihood is that you will accept it at face value. I almost certainly did. But I had always argued that regime change, which was clearly what the Amercians wanted, was illegal under article two of the UN charter. So we were [already] taking a very strong legal stance. What we said effectively was that we had seen this dossier but it didn't really change our position.
Charles Falconer: I was then minister of state at the Home Office responsible for criminal justice. Re-reading the document, as I did last night, I think it pretty accurately reflects what people thought the position was at the time. Namely that Saddam Hussein wanted to have weapons of mass destruction [WMD] – he's had some and we knew from intelligence that he was prepared to use them. read more>>>