Blair shut out critics, says former minister

Paola Totaro; 3/2/10

Tony Blair not only misled the public about his decision to take Britain to war in Iraq but deliberately ordered that Cabinet critics be cut out of intelligence and military briefings in the lead-up, the Chilcot inquiry has been told. Clare Short, a former International Development minister and vehement critic of the Iraq war, has delivered a scathing description of the “presidential” style of Tony Blair’s leadership and described a Cabinet of yes men that were regarded as “his mates” while critics who were sidelined and “leaned on”. She said she believes the “machinery of government in Britain is now unsafe” and that from September 2002, she was deliberately cut out of briefings as Mr Blair had put a “block on communications” .