In August 2004, when he was am MP Plaid's Adam Price commissioned and published the report: A Case to Answer: a first report on the potential impeachment of the Prime Minister for High Crimes and Misdemeanours in relation to the invasion of Iraq. The document was written by Dr Glen Rangwala (lecturer of politics at University of Cambridge) and Dan Plesch (Honorary Fellow of Birkbeck, University of London.) The report is 111 pages and divided into two sections.
The first part of the report details evidence for charges that an MP could use when moving for impeachment. The evidence detailed by the report suggests that Tony Blair:
- made unsupported statements to the house and the public;
- failed to report counter-evidence;
- failed to verify claims in the evidence;
- failed to remove errors found in the evidence; and
- made a secret agreement with US President George W. Bush to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
The second part examines the history of impeachment proceedings and looks at the possibility of bringing impeachment proceedings in modern government. It also gives the impeachable offences for which it claims Tony Blair must offer a defence:
- failing to resign after misleading parliament and the country;
- making a secret agreement with a foreign power;
- undermining the constitution; and
- negligence and incompetence.
Finally, it gave precedents for considering the conduct of a Prime Minister.MPs from Plaid Cymru, the SNP 2 Liberal Democrats, together with 10 Conservative MPs including Boris Johnson, George Galloway (RESPECT) Richard Taylor (Independent)
signed the original impeachment motion.
On Wednesday Adam Price called for the Impeachment process to be revived since Chilcott virtually confirmed the argument Adam made 13 years ago..
"The British Establishment does not do self-condemnation very well.
But the Chilcot Inquiry will probably go down in history as the most devastating denunciation of decision-making since the Crimean Board of Inquiry laid bare the same lethal cocktail of vanity and incompetence that we came to know as the “Charge of the Light Brigade”.
The mistakes made are manifold but the charge sheet against the Prime Minister has three major elements: a private pact, a case built on deliberate deception and dubious legality.
The former Prime Minster pre-committed Britain to war without parliamentary or even Cabinet approval repeatedly as the report lays bare.
This promise was made at the Crawford Ranch and at Camp David meetings according to contemporaneous notes by the few officials with whom these confidences were shared, but also in the personal notes that Blair send Bush, with all the obsequious regularity of a medieval courtier.
“I will be with you, whatever” sounds more like the febrile scribbling of a star’ crossed lover, than the cool language of a diplomatic despatch.
The next part of the message - “The military part of this is hazardous but I will concentrate mainly on the political context for success” – says a lot about Blair’s sense of priority.
It will drive more salt into the still tender wounds of military families.
The ‘L’ word is banished from public discourse in these islands, but the report banishes forever any doubt that the Prime Minister deliberately exaggerated the case for war.
Mr Blair, says Chilcot, made statements that “went further than the assessments of the JIC” and that were “not an accurate description of the intelligence”.
Parliament and public were misled and this was no accident. A concerted effort to “shape public opinion” had been identified as a necessary condition for Britain’s involvement in the war as early as July 2002.
The final element in the prosecution case is the question-mark the report raises over the war’s legality, describing the process by which legal opinion was arrived at, in classic English under-statement, as “unsatisfactory”.
More damning still, the admission that the war was not a last resort option and that peaceful avenues had not been exhausted is prima facie an assertion that the war was indeed a “crime of aggression”.
Parliament, which played its own sorry role in this tragic debacle, now has an opportunity to redeem itself by holding Blair to account.
As the international criminal court has already declared the indictment against the former Prime Minister beyond its current remit, Parliament must dust off its ancient role as the court of last resort and begin impeachment proceedings.
If the Brazilian President can be impeached for massaging financial statistics, how much more grave the case to do so for a former Prime Minister who, as Chilcot lays bare, has the blood of hundreds of thousands on his hands?
Many of the MPs who failed to back the impeachment process 12 years ago including Jeremy Corbyn are still in Parliament .
We can only wonder how many will support impeachment this time , but will it because they felt duped by Blair in 2004 or to ease their conscious in that they did not see which was clear to Adam Price twelve years before Chilcot came up with his devastating report.