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Blair under pressure to reveal war advice.

Byline: JAMIE LYONS

THE Government was last night facing fresh questions about the legality of the war in Iraq.

A prominent Labour peer questioned the way in which the Attorney General came up with his advice.

And former International Development Secretary Clare Short queried the impartiality of Lord Goldsmith's advice because of his closeness to Tony Blair.

Ex-PrimeMinister John Major also entered the row by urging Mr Blair to publish the advice to clear the air as the row was ``poisoning the whole political atmosphere'' domestically and internationally.

On Saturday, the Government again dismissed demands to publish Lord Goldsmith's advice, pointing to the longstanding convention that governments did not reveal the advice of their legal officers. But the row has refused to die down.

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC said the ``vast majority'' of lawyers thought the conflict would be unlawful without a second UN resolution.

She said: ``It was interesting that,out of probably only two lawyers who would have argued for the legality of going to war, one of those was the person to whom the Attorney General turned.

``I think the lesson from this is that actually law matters. Before you make those commitments to your friend or ally, you have to talk about law because it is not some side issue. It is the way we have tried to civilise the world and we must not forget that.''

Ms Short said there had been unease across Whitehall over the legality of the war without a second UN resolution.

Then ``right at the last minute'' on the day Robin Cook quit the Government, Lord Goldsmith went to the Cabinet with a brief statement saying there was legal authority. Yesterday she insisted in a television interview she had raised questions about the delays but was silenced by fellow ministers.

``It is hard not to think he (LordGoldsmith)may have been leant on,'' she said.``Tony is running this country in a deeply, deeply personal way.''

She pointed out Lord Goldsmith was ``a friend of Tony's'' and Mr Blair put him in the Lords as well as making him Attorney General.

Mr Major said there was no credible or logical reason not to publish Lord Goldsmith's advice and it was in Mr Blair's own interests to do so to end damaging speculation.

CAPTION(S):

Clare Short who yesterday questioned the advice over the legality of the Iraq war
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 1, 2004
Words:398
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