Spin doctor Alastair Campbell is set to be cleared by the Chilcot Inquiry, despite his role in “sexing up” the intelligence that helped push Britain into the war in Iraq.
Or so claims the Sunday Times newspaper. It claims full blame for the dodgy dossier’s presentation will be pinned on Tony Blair and former intelligence chiefs Sir Richard Dearlove and Sir John Scarlett.
It was supposed to contain evidence of weapons of mass destruction
Blair is said to be particularly concerned at how brutally he is criticised in the report and how strongly it suggests he lied to parliament.
It would take a heart of stone not to laugh.
In a legal process known as Maxwellisation, all those criticised in the report have been informed by letter and have seen the relevant passage.
It is appropriately named after the late dodgy news baron Robert Maxwell.
Campbell has apparently not received one of those letters, meaning, effectively that the inquiry has not criticised him.
It is seven years since then prime minister Gordon Brown ordered retired civil servant Sir John Chilcot to lead a committee “to learn the lessons of the complex and often controversial events” that saw Britain join the US in going to war in Iraq.
One anoymous source told the Sunday Times, “Campbell has not had a letter. He is in the clear.” An ally of the former prime minister told the paper the “lying issue is the greatest concern” to Blair.
No doubt they were not the same source and did not used to place stories in the press for Blair.
The source said Blair would “come out all guns blazing”.
Which in the circumstances seems an unfortunate turn of phrase.
Families of the 179 British soldiers who died in Iraq were told they may have to pay £767 for a hard copy of the report. The government later backtracked.