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Tony Blair’s Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon Says He Was Told To BURN Memo That Said Iraq War Could Be Illegal

Geoff Hoon (left) says he was ordered by Downing Street to burn a secret memo that said the 2003 invasion of Iraq could be illegal. When the claim emerged in 2015, Sir Tony Blair (right and centre, in 2003) said it was ‘nonsense’.

But Mr Hoon, who was in charge of defence when the war started, insists the allegation was true and he has now given a sensational blow-by-blow account of a No 10 ‘cover-up’. He says his principal private secretary was told ‘in no uncertain terms’ by Jonathan Powell, Sir Tony’s chief of staff, that after reading the document he must ‘burn it’.

Mr Hoon said the MoD mandarin was deeply alarmed by the order – and they defied Downing Street by locking the memo in a safe instead. The allegations came as the number of people who have signed a petition calling for a U-turn on the former Labour prime minister’s honour approached 600,000.

The Queen has made him a knight companion of the Order of the Garter, Britain’s oldest order of chivalry. The onslaught from Mr Hoon in his memoir, See How They Run, is all the more damaging because he was one of Sir Tony’s closest personal and political allies.

He describes his shock at being told to destroy secret advice from attorney general Lord Goldsmith on the legality of the war in the run-up to the conflict. It was later revealed that Lord Goldsmith said the war could be illegal. Days before fighting began, he changed his mind and said it was legal.


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