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Lets's talk about democracy
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Saturday, 18 September 2004
Impeach Blair!
Remember, we got the idea from the Brits in the first place.

From the BBC:

A campaign to use age-old powers to impeach Tony Blair for misleading the public over the Iraq war is being launched by a group of MPs on Thursday.

The power, last used in 1806, could in theory see Mr Blair charged with improper conduct in office but in practice has little chance of success.

US President Bill Clinton famously was impeached over the Monica Lewinsky scandal but was acquitted.
Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price is behind the Blair impeachment call.

Thursday's report has been produced by Dr Glen Rangwala, of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Dan Plesch, honorary fellow of Birkbeck College, University of London.

It has reportedly been backed by 11 MPs - nine of them Welsh and Scottish nationalists and two Conservatives, frontbencher Boris Johnson and ex-shadow minister Nigel Evans.

The MPs are set to table a Commons motion calling for Mr Blair to go before Parliament to defend his record on Iraq.

The idea would be to get MPs to vote to set up a criminal trial of the prime minister, with the Lords acting as judges.

One of the last impeachment cases was of Warren Hastings, the final governor-general of India, who was acquitted by his trial.

The power can theoretically be used for "high crimes and misdemeanours beyond the reach of the law or which no other authority of the state will prosecute".

A case to answer: The list of particulars.

This report sets out compelling evidence of deliberate repeated distortion, seriously
misleading statements and culpable negligence on the part of the Prime Minister. This
misconduct is in itself more than sufficient to require his resignation.

Further to this,
the Prime Minister's conduct has also destroyed the United Kingdom's reputation for
honesty around the world; it has produced a war with no end in sight; it has damaged
and discredited the intelligence services which are essential to the security of the
state; it has undermined the constitution by weakening cabinet government to
breaking point and it has made a mockery of the authority of Parliament as
representatives of the people. The core conclusion of this report is that the
impeachment of the Prime Minister has a strong basis in fact, and established
precedent in parliamentary law.

It is on this basis that a number of parliamentary colleagues have declared their
intention to bring a Commons motion of impeachment as an indictment of the
methods, practices and conduct of the Prime Minister in relation to the war in Iraq.
This is a historic undertaking made with great regret but also a growing sense of
resolution.
We are guided in this action by that most ancient of parliamentary doctrines: the
principle of ministerial accountability, that those who lead us cannot mislead us and
then remain in office. It is simply unprecedented for a minister to refuse to resign in
the face of such compelling evidence.

All the usual constitutional conventions have been exhausted. Further inquiries into
the Prime Minister's conduct have been refused. A vote of no confidence would
bring all ministers within its scope and, therefore, fail to reflect the extent to which
this Prime Minister made Iraq a matter of individual, not collective, responsibility,
through the practice, as revealed by Lord Butler, not of government-by-cabinet but
government-by-cabal.

It is difficult to see why other ministers should find themselves
in the dock when they were consistently kept in the dark through the actions of the
Prime Minister. Finally, the normal rules of debate in the House of Commons mean
that Members cannot accuse the Prime Minister of making misleading statements
without immediately being required to withdraw the accusation. It is only by
impeachment that Parliament will be able to discuss freely, and possessed of all the
facts, the very serious issues raised by this report.

And from the Guardian, more fuel for the fire hot off the presses...

Tony Blair was last night forced on to the defensive over Iraq after explosive leaked documents revealed that he was warned a year before the invasion that a war could send the country into meltdown.

The Prime Minister was advised by officials that the country risked 'reverting to type' - with a succession of military coups installing a dictator who could then go on to acquire his own weapons of mass destruction - and that British troops would be trapped in Iraq 'for many years'.

Even his own foreign policy adviser, Sir David Manning, concluded in a private note that President Bush had no answer to the big questions about the invasion - including 'what happens on the morning after?'

The memos, showing how detailed military planning was even a year before the invasion, will prompt renewed questions about whether better planning for the aftermath of war could have prevented the bloodshed now engulfing Iraq.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 5:00 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, 18 September 2004 9:23 PM EDT
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