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Last Updated: Saturday, 5 May 2007, 04:20 GMT 05:20 UK
WMD document 'must be released'
John Williams
John Williams has said the draft did not contain the 45 minute claim
The government must release a draft of a 2002 dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, the Information Commissioner has ruled.

The campaigner who requested the draft says it may contain the first reference to Saddam Hussein having WMD which could be used in 45 minutes.

It was written by the then Foreign Office press secretary, John Williams. He denies it contains the claim.

Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett is expected to take the final decision.

Last year Mr Williams, who has since left the Foreign Office, insisted his version did not include the controversial claim that Saddam Hussein could fire WMD within 45 minutes which appeared in the dossier.

And a senior government official told the BBC the 45 minute claim was not mentioned in the draft prepared by Mr Williams.

Front pages

The campaigner requested the draft under Freedom of Information legislation.

The 45-minute claim was included in the body and Tony Blair's foreword to the September 2002 dossier on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, before the start of the Iraq war. It subsequently became the front page headline in a number of newspapers.

It became infamous after a BBC report suggested it had been inserted into the dossier against the wishes of the intelligence services, as Number 10 sought to "sex up" the case for war.

That report prompted a row between the government and the BBC, which ended with the death of the source for the story, government WMD expert Dr David Kelly.

His death was then investigated by the Hutton inquiry, which concluded that he had committed suicide and that the 45 minute claim was in the dossier with the full blessing of the then chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, John Scarlett, who is now head of MI6.

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