The campaign to strip Tony Blair of his knighthood was boosted last night by devastating allegations from his own defence secretary.
Geoff Hoon 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 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. He also:
- Echoes claims that Sir Tony signed a ‘deal in blood’ with George Bush to back the war a year before it began;
- Reveals he was given a prime ministerial dressing down for telling the US that if MPs voted against the war UK troops couldn’t take part;
- Accuses the No 10 press office of being behind notorious ’45 minutes from doom’ reports that exaggerated the threat from Saddam Hussein’s military;
- Says he was sacked and ‘hung out to dry’ by Sir Tony to escape blame for the war.