Wednesday | July 09, 2003
Senior British officials: no WMD to be found-BBC
By Steve Gilliard
Weapons of mass destruction are no longer likely to turn up in Iraq, the BBC has learned
BBC political editor Andrew Marr says very senior figures "right at the top of Whitehall" no longer believe the weapons are likely to be found.
The development "is of important political significance", he adds.
But Downing Street insists that the prime minister stands by the comments he made to MPs on the Commons liaison committee on Tuesday - that he is convinced that evidence of Iraq's weapons programme will be found.
Really? Whatever could have led them to that conclusion after three months of searching.
Is this a sign that Blair is going to admit that there are no weapons to be found? No matter how he spins this, the intelligence failure here is as bad as the days of Philby, Burgess and Maclean, the longterm KGB sleepers who worked for MI6 until 1960. To claim Saddam had a threat which could harm our allies in the Gulf on 45 minutes warning, and then find nothing is not going to go over well.
Or is it a sign that it's time for a change at the top of the Labour party. Is this the beginning of the end for Blair or is he trying to cushion the blow of a gross failure.