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Michael Foster MP asked to clarify actions on Iraq War

February 11, 2010

Dear Michael,

The Chilcot Inquiry has brought the Iraq War back to the forefront of the nation’s consciousness.

As PPS to Harriet Harman and Lord Goldsmith until 7 September 2004, you obviously played your part in the provision of crucial legal advice to the Cabinet over the War.

First, may I bring to your attention what seems to be an inaccuracy on your own website. It says on your ‘About Michael’ page that you were ‘Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Attorney General from 1997 to 2003 when [you] resigned as a result of the Iraq conflict’.

However on the ‘They Work for You’ website, it suggests that you were in place as PPS to Lord Goldsmith until 7 September 2004. This is a significant difference, as it is a full year and a half after the resignation of Robin Cook over the conflict.

Could you confirm which is the accurate date?

Second, there have been constituents who have raised with me their confusion about your resignation.

Again, referring to theyworkforyou.com, it suggests that you returned as PPS to Lord Goldsmith and Harriet Harman on 2 November 2004 – some 56 days after your resignation.

Would you please clarify what happened here, so that I am able to respond with accuracy to people who contact me for my view on this?

In the spirit of the Chilcot Inquiry, would you also make public your correspondence with Lord Goldsmith over your resignation?

This would make absolutely clear, for the electorate, your position on the War.

I will be writing separately to Lord Goldsmith.

I look forward to a speedy response.

Thanks in advance; yours truly,

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2 Comments
  1. nickperrylibdem permalink

    Nick Perry
    Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate
    Hastings and Rye Liberal Democrat Centre
    9 London Road
    St Leonards on Sea
    TN37 6AE
    Our Ref: AS/01080041

    17 February 2010

    Dear Nick

    I have your letter of the 11th of February. I do find it odd that despite your “new type of politics” tagline you consistently attack my integrity. As I have said before, I do not do that to you. I often think you are wrong about things you say, but I assume that you do so in good faith.

    I do not know the purpose of your most recent letter but I assume it is again to undermine my credibility. I think you will find that many of your friends will be disappointed that this is your approach.

    As to the facts, had you been around in the Hastings area in 2003 you would not need to ask.

    As you know I was the PPS to the Attorney General at the time of the Iraq conflict, and I resigned on the eve of the vote. I wrote to Lord Goldsmith and the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair, to say that I did not question the “legality” of the decision as I thought it was arguable, but I did question the “legitimacy” of the decision to attack Iraq and for that reason I could not support the Government.

    The national and local press made clear at the time, that I had resigned my role in protest.

    It is the case that towards the end of 2004 some 18 months later, I was asked to do the PPS role for the Attorney for a short period mainly because the Law Officers required a PPS who was a lawyer and I am. It was a temporary arrangement and I did not continue in that role for long but joined the Select Committee for Work and Pensions (one cannot do both).

    I have no idea why “They Work for You” and other websites perhaps, have inaccurate dates as to when I was in particular roles. My objection to your enquiry is not that you enquire, but your assumption that it is my web page that is “inaccurate.”

    You say constituents have raised with you their “confusion” about my resignation. Please ask them to contact me if that be the case as none have directly.

    I assume that in view of you having published on your website the letter to me, you will publish this reply alongside.

    Yours sincerely

    MICHAEL FOSTER DL MP

  2. nickperrylibdem permalink

    From: Nick Perry [mailto:ndsperry@yahoo.co.uk]
    Sent: 22 February 2010 23:24
    To: ‘Michael Foster’
    Subject: Your letter of 17/02

    Dear Michael,
    Thanks for your letter of 17/02, which I received today.
    It is not true that I consistently attack your integrity.
    It is true that I often disagree with the Government, always challenge spin from my opposite numbers, and have a deep-seated mistrust of New Labour.

    Thank you for responding to my email, and for clarifying a number of points.
    If you send me a soft copy of the text of the letter, I will publish it on my blog.
    Yours truly,
    Nick

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