UK premier admits misleading Iraq war inquiry

UK premier admits misleading Iraq war inquiry
# 18 March 2010 02:11 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown admitted on Wednesday that he provided false information to the Iraq Inquiry during his recent testimony, APA reports quoting “Al Jazeera”.
When addressing the question of adequate funding for the UK armed forces for their invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, Brown had told the Inquiry on March 5 that Britain’s military budget had been "rising in real terms every year."
This was shown to be contrary to the records of the UK’s House of Commons and led to a rare public outburst from former heads of the armed forces who rejected the claim. Among them was Lord Guthrie, former chief of defense staff, who said the Ministry of Defense had "received the bare minimum from the chancellor, who wanted to give the military as little as he could get away with" according to the BBC.
The opposition parties, which are gearing up for a forthcoming general elections seized on this discrepancy and the leader of the Conservative Party, David Cameron tabled a question during the weekly Prime Minister’s Question Time in the House of Commons today.
This forced Brown — who was the country’s chancellor of exchequer during the Iraq invasion &0151; to admit that the war chest "did not rise in real terms."
He went on to stipulate that "because of operational fluctuations in the way the money is spent, expenditure has risen in cash terms every year, in real terms it is 12 percent higher, but I do accept that in one or two years defense expenditure did not rise in real terms."
He explained that military spending had risen from GBP 21 billion in 1997 to around GBP 40 billion this year and "grows every year in cash terms."
Asked if he was correcting the records, Brown promised he would. "Yes. I am already writing to [the head of the Iraq Inquiry] Sir John Chilcot about this issue."
David Cameron said later that it was the first time in three years he had heard Gordon Brown "make a correction or a retraction."
"The fact is, if you look at defense spending figures, or defense budget figures there have been years where there have been real terms cuts and at last the prime minister has admitted it."