The Slog’s long-heralded Dark Lady Clare Short took the lid off the Brown/Blair succession revelations last night, when she told the Sunday Times of Gordon Brown’s personal career fears during 2003.
She told The Sunday Times: “Gordon said that the Blairites were hoping for a quick and victorious war, after which they would be much strengthened. He would be offered a job which he couldn’t accept and he would be joining me on the back benches.”
The Slog exclusively revealed the timing of Clare Short’s Chilcot slot last week. There were hot denials from Labour MPs last night that Short was also the colleague to whom Robin Cook allegedly revealed during 2006 that he had radioactive information on Blair’s secret roles and agreements surrounding the Iraq war. (Another Slog exclusive in the last week)
Short was close to Brown in 2003. She claims Brown ‘listened sympathetically’ to her grave doubts about the War. It’s therefore not surprising that she has chosen to dump on Blair not Brown: she has always -like Sir Roderic Lyne – felt betrayed by Blair’s perfidy on the issue of the Government’s WMD dossier.
However, Ms Short knows perfectly well that – assuming she enlarges on this claim at Chilcot next Tuesday – she has done exactly what Nick Clegg’s cabal want: to get the Brown/Blair relationship firmly on the Chilcot agenda. For this could pave the way for Brown (along with several re-interviewees) to be questioned about what Iraq ‘sleaze’ may have been used by Brownites to oust Tony Blair as Prime Minister. I understand that high on the list of at least two Chilcot panellists for further questioning is Geoff Hoon.
Senior Libdem sources last night refused to comment on Short’s role in their growing conviction that both Brown and Blair have much to hide about the preliminaries and aftermath of the Iraq conflict. But an FCO informant continues to insist that, if pushed, anti-Brown plotter Hoon would happily be ‘forced’ to reveal Gordon Brown’s central role in starving British troops of vital equipment.
Meanwhile, The Mail on Sunday reveals today that four out of five electors did not believe Blair’s Chilcot evidence. Clare Short gives her evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry on Tuesday morning, 2nd February.