What action he has taken since 14 May to gather documentation in relation to weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
We believe that documents relating to Iraq's WMD programmes have been carefully concealed, including at the homes of scientists and other personnel connected with those programmes. As I informed the House a moment or two ago, a new organisation, the Iraq survey group, has been set up to take charge of the search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, among other things. The group will harness intelligence resources and the investigatory skills of about 1,300 to 1,400 staff from the US, the UK and Australia. It will subsume the existing smaller operations and investigations being carried out by the US military. It will also include former United Nations arms inspectors, and it represents a significant expansion of effort in the coalition hunt for weapons of mass destruction.
Tonight at 7 o'clock, Mr. Speaker has given me an Adjournment debate on the situation in detention of Tariq Aziz. Could the Prime Minister ask the junior Minister at the Foreign Office who will be replying to the debate to enlarge on the processes by which the documentation that is found may relate to trials, not only of Tariq Aziz but of some others? Do we not have to be rather careful, whatever our views, about victors' justice? Surely those people have to be brought to trial one way or another?
I agree with my hon. Friend: they have to be brought to trial in a proper way. That is something that we are discussing at present both with our allies and with the United Nations. I shall certainly pass on to my hon. Friend, the Foreign Office Minister who will reply to the debate, the points that my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow (Mr. Dalyell) has made. I hope, however, that he will recognise and support us in one thing. Sometimes over the past few days, it has been almost as if the whole issue of Saddam and weapons of mass destruction were a curious invention. The weapons of mass destruction issue and Saddam have been around for 12 years in the UN, as have Saddam's efforts at concealment.When I was replying to my right hon. Friend the Member for Livingston (Mr. Cook), I forgot one point. It is sometimes said that it is very curious that, if those weapons were ready to fire, they were not found immediately. The answer to that lies in the very point we made in the dossier, which is that once Saddam started to realise that United Nations inspectors were coming back in, as I think I said continually at the Dispatch Box, there was then a concerted campaign of concealment of the weapons. Indeed, I think I also Said—if not at this Dispatch Box, then elsewhere Publicly—that one benefit of that, although there were obviously a lot of problems with it, was that it would make it more difficult to reassemble those weapons; but that does not in any shape or form dispute the original intelligence. As for the other point that my hon. Friend the Member for Linlithgow makes, about the tribunal and how these people are tried, I can assure him that if they are tried they should be tried according to proper and due process.
Those of us who argued that the conflict in Iraq was illegal continually had the whole issue of weapons of mass destruction thrown at us by the right hon. Gentleman and others. Is it not high time to have a full public inquiry? It is not good enough for the Prime Minister to rely on a report by the Joint Intelligence Committee, because he can be selective as to what he produces, and when all is said and done, the Committee is answerable to him.
I suspect that whatever we did would not be good enough for the hon. Gentleman. The fact is that he and his colleagues were opposed to this from the very beginning, and from the moment the conflict ended and all their predictions of disaster turned out to be untrue, they have been looking for a way of getting back into the argument, saying it was all a terrible mistake.Let me tell the hon. Gentleman one thing. I have been to Iraq and spoken to those Iraqi people; yes, it is true that there is an enormous job of reconstruction to be done in that country, but seeing the literally tens of thousands of bodies in mass graves uncovered in Iraq, and realising that these people had been deprived of freedom for decade upon decade, let us be thankful that someone who was a threat with his weapons of mass destruction and also a brutal tyrant has been removed once and for all.