More memory loss?

The BBC are reporting that the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, has stated, in a letter to the DUP’s Ian Paisley, that the Cabinet were consulted before the decision was made not to present evidence in the Stormont spy-ring case, and quote him specifically as saying that they were asked whether they had “information that might bear on the consideration of the public interest by the DPP”, although they note “he said the information obtained from ministers played no part in the decision to drop the charges.” However, as I previously noted, at PMQs on 14th December, Tony Blair stated, in response to a question by the SDLPs Alasdair McDonnell, “Obviously, we were not consulted about this matter; it has to be a decision taken by the independent prosecuting authorities.” and he also stated at that time that “I do not know whether the DPP was in consultation with the Attorney-General or not..”Here’s the question, and answer from Hansard

Dr. Alasdair McDonnell (Belfast, South) (SDLP): May I ask the Prime Minister a question about an item of national importance and public interest? Last week we saw the collapse of charges arising from the IRA spy ring in Stormont that brought down the devolved Assembly. We were told by the Attorney-General that those charges collapsed in the public interest. On the basis of that alleged public interest, of which absolutely no detail has been provided, would it be possible to make a statement or share some information with us on why the charges were preferred, lasted for three years, then suddenly evaporated at the last minute?

The Prime Minister: I entirely understand my hon. Friend’s concern. I have to say, however, that the decision whether to proceed with a prosecution is made by the Director of Public Prosecutions. It is not, and cannot be, made by Ministers. Obviously, we were not consulted about this matter; it has to be a decision taken by the independent prosecuting authorities.[added emphasis]

Additional, Tony Blair said in response to a question by the DUPs Peter Robinson – “I do not know whether the DPP was in consultation with the Attorney-General or not, but I can assure the hon. Gentleman that no Minister had anything whatever to do with the decision.” –

Q4. [37182] Mr. Peter Robinson (Belfast, East) (DUP): May I return the Prime Minister to the issue of the Stormont spy ring? He says that the decision was made by the Director of Public Prosecutions. Can he say whether the DPP sought or received advice from the Attorney-General, or whether there was any consultation with any other Minister?

Is the Prime Minister aware that three possible reasons for the DPP’s decision are being canvassed in Northern Ireland? One is that there was not enough evidence to secure a prosecution; another is that the Government have done a deal with the Provisional IRA; and the third is that they were protecting sensitive, if not embarrassing, evidence and agents. Will the Prime Minister tell us which it was?

The Prime Minister: I do not know whether the DPP was in consultation with the Attorney-General or not, but I can assure the hon. Gentleman that no Minister had anything whatever to do with the decision. I hope he accepts that. If he actually wants to create a stable atmosphere in Northern Ireland, he should bear in mind that it is helpful not to end up with conspiracy theories that owe very little to the facts and a great deal to the desire of people to stir up difficulty.

As for the three points that the hon. Gentleman presented as reasons for the action, I cannot comment on the first or the third, but I can say of the second that it is completely untrue.[added emphasis]

Update The Belfast Telegraph have a report too.. and neglect to mention the Prime Minister’s previous statements as well.

  • heck

    Honest Tony lying??

    I’m shocked, just shocked!!