Pressure mounts over Iraq legal advice

March 24, 2005 at 12:04 PM
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LONDON, March 24 (UPI) -- British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has mounted a vigorous defense of Attorney General Peter Goldsmith's advice on the legality of the Iraq war.

Straw answered emergency questions in Parliament Thursday, after fresh evidence emerged suggesting the attorney general had originally considered an invasion illegal.

Lawmakers renewed calls for the government to publish Goldsmith's advice in full, a demand Straw because it would reveal confidential legal advice and set a "grave" precedent for government.

Conservative Shadow Attorney General Dominic Grieve tabled an emergency question after Channel 4 News obtained and published a censored paragraph from an ex-Foreign Office lawyer's resignation letter.

Elizabeth Wilmhurst's letter was originally obtained by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act earlier this year, but one paragraph was deleted.

In that paragraph she said she understood the attorney general's view prior to March 7, 2003, to agree with that of the Foreign Office and herself: that invasion would be illegal without a second resolution.

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