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Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2003

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To ask the Solicitor General if the Government will publish the advice tendered by the Attorney General (a) in respect of the legal basis for invading Iraq and (b) the post war reconstruction arrangements in Iraq. [114077]

[holding answer 20 May 2003]: No. As the hon. Member is aware from my answer to him on the 26 March, by long-standing convention, observed by successive Governments, the fact of and content of Law Officers' advice to the Government is not disclosed outside Government.This is reflected in paragraph 24 of the Ministerial Code. The Law Officers' advice to Government is given in confidence.Exceptionally, the Attorney provided a written answer to Baroness Ramsey in the House of Lords on 17 March in which he set out his views on the legal basis for the armed conflict against Iraq. I repeated that answer in this House on the same day.Hon. Members will also know that the Foreign Secretary submitted a document to the Foreign Affairs Committee on 17 March dealing with the legal basis for the armed conflict against Iraq. Furthermore, on the 22 April in a letter to the Foreign Affairs Committee the Foreign Office set out the scope and authority of an occupying power under international law.