Skip to main content
Where I Live
A-Z Index

BBC News

BBC Election 2005

Watch the BBC Election News
  • Election news alerts
  • Email services
  • Mobiles/PDAs
  • News for your site
Last Updated: Thursday, 28 April 2005, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
Iraq war lawful, says Goldsmith
Attorney General Lord Goldsmith
Lord Goldsmith says the advice supports the case for war
The Attorney General Lord Goldsmith has reiterated his opinion that it was legal for the UK to go to war in Iraq.

His issued a statement after the leaking of advice he gave Tony Blair before the war, in which he casts doubt over the legality of military action.

In the document, Lord Goldsmith said it was "unclear" whether war would be legal without a second UN resolution.

But he now says the document "stood up" the government's case for war and "does not say the war was unlawful".

'Complicated arguments'

The full statement from the attorney general, following the release of his leaked report, reads:

The document, published by Channel 4 News, so far from standing up the case of the government's critics, stands up the case the government has been making all along.

What this document does, as in any legal advice, is to go through the complicated arguments that led me to this view
Attorney General Lord Goldsmith

Contrary to the allegations that have persistently been made, it does not say the war was unlawful but confirms the conclusion I reached was that a sufficient basis for the use of force was established without a second resolution.

What this document does, as in any legal advice, is to go through the complicated arguments that led me to this view.

Far from showing I reached the conclusion that to go to war would be unlawful, it shows how I took account of all the arguments before reaching my conclusion.

"It is now obvious from this legal advice that on 7 March 2003, the attorney general raised specific reservations about the legality of war in Iraq
Michael Howard

The document also makes it clear that the legal analysis might be altered by the course of events over the next week or so.

Between 7 March and 17 March, 2003, I asked for and received confirmation of the breach of UN Security Council Resolutions.

It was also necessary to continue my deliberations as the military and civil service needed me to express a clear and simple view whether military action would be lawful or not.

The answer to the question was it lawful, yes or no, was, in my judgement, yes. And I said so to government, to the military, to Cabinet and publicly.


Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit