In view of Panorama last night, these questions and replies may be of interest. (Iraq Survey group and phials, uranium, David Kay etc)
 
What is puzzling is the answer from Hoon stating that we had never asserted that Niger had tried to sell uranium to Iraq since the 1980s.  (See red below)
 
 
 

Weapons of Mass Destruction

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement outlining the circumstances under which the test tube of botulinum was discovered in Iraq and how long it had been stored in its place of discovery. [132343]

Mr. Hoon: The Iraq Survey Group was led to the vial of "Clostridium botulinum" okra B in the home of an Iraqi BW scientist. It was found in the kitchen in a container with other vials, which are believed to have been stored there for some time.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make a statement regarding his assessment of the United Kingdom Government's claim that Niger was prepared to sell uranium to Iraq. [132344]

Mr. Hoon: Niger sold some 270 tonnes of uranium ore to Iraq in the early 1980s. The Government have made no claim that Niger was prepared to sell uranium to Iraq since then.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence why British experts on the Iraq Survey Group have not been given access to the classified version of the report presented by David Kay; and if he will make a statement. [132345]

Mr. Hoon : The classified version of Dr. David Kay's Interim Report on the work of the Iraq Survey Group was drawn up in consultation with United Kingdom, United States and Australian experts working in the field in Iraq.

Since Dr. Kay's return to Iraq, ISG personnel from all three coalition countries with a need to know and the appropriate clearances have been granted access to the completed report.

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the test tube discovered in Iraq contained (a) the bacteria botulinum and (b) the toxin itself; what strain it was; how many times more toxic than the nerve agent VX the B strain is; and if he will make a statement. [132346]

Mr. Hoon: The vial contained viable "Clostridium botulinum" type B organisms. This would have allowed the Iraqis to grow from this seed stock increasing

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quantities of "Clostridium botulinum" from which its toxin could be derived. The toxin could then have been weaponised.

The vial was labelled as "Clostridium botulinum" strain Okra B. This micro-organism can produce botulinum toxin type B. "Clostridium botulinum" toxin type B is many times more toxic than VX nerve agent. The comparison varies depending on the route by which each is applied, on the methods by which the botulinum toxin is prepared and on the subject to which it is applied.

Mr. Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to receive the final report from the survey group in Iraq on weapons of mass destruction. [133155]

Mr. Hoon: The Iraq Survey Group will take as long as necessary to complete its investigations into Iraqi weapons of mass destruction programmes and produce a final report.

Mr. Keetch: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if it is Her Majesty's Government's policy to reserve the right to be the first to use weapons of mass destruction in war. [133719]

Mr. Hoon: The phrase 'weapons of mass destruction', is generally held to refer to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

The United Kingdom is a State Party to the Chemical Weapons Convention and Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention which outlaw the use and possession of chemical and biological and toxin weapons respectively. The UK gave up such capabilities in the 1950s.

We maintain only a minimum nuclear deterrent, the purpose of which is to prevent war rather than fight it.

As the Government has made clear on many occasions, we would be prepared to use nuclear weapons only in extreme circumstances of self-defence. As our overall strategy is to ensure uncertainty in the mind of any aggressor about the exact nature of our response, and thus to maintain effective deterrence, we do not define the exact circumstances under which we would be prepared to use nuclear weapons.

We would not use our weapons, whether conventional or nuclear, contrary to international law.

 

 

http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200203/cmhansrd/cm031117/text/31117w11.htm#31117w11.html_sbhd4

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Iraq

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 27 October 2003, Official Report, column 50W, on Iraq, what steps he took to ascertain the nature of the delivery system to which the time of 45 minutes, mentioned in the Joint Intelligence Committee's assessment of 9 September, referred. [138629]

The Prime Minister: This intelligence report did not significantly amend the long standing Joint Intelligence Committee assessment that Iraq had command and control and logistical arrangements in place for the use of weapons of mass destruction. This particular piece of intelligence added precision as to timing which had not previously been available but did not change the overall picture and therefore there was no reason to seek further information.

As the Intelligence and Security Committee noted in their report on 9 September 2003 there was convincing intelligence that Iraq had active chemical, biological and nuclear programmes, the capability to produce chemical and biological weapons. All of this, irrespective of the means by which such weapons were to be delivered, was in breach of UN Security Council Resolutions.

 

Dalyell  was trying to tie down the PM about his prior knowledge re the 45 minute claim and that it only applied to battlefield weapons.

 

27 Oct 2003 : Column 50Wócontinued

Iraq

Mr. Dalyell: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his oral answer of 22 October 2003, Official Report, column 636, to the hon. Member for Nottingham South (Alan Simpson), if he will place in the Library a note of the date when he was first informed that references in the Government dossier to 45 minutes and weapons of mass destruction were references only to battlefield weaponry. [134536]

Alan Simpson: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his oral answer of 22 October 2003, Official Report, column 636, on Iraq, on what date he was first informed that references to the 45 minute warning about Iraq applied only to battlefield weapons. [134537]

The Prime Minister: As my right hon. Friend, the Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Mr. O'Brien) said on 28 January 2003, Official Report, column 769W, Weapons of Mass Destruction are generally held to refer to nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The term applies whether the weapons are delivered through battlefield or longer-range systems. As has been noted by the Intelligence and Security Committee in their Report of 9 September 2003, the intelligence on the 45 minute point was issued by Secret Intelligence Service on 30 August 2002. The Secret Intelligence Service report did not specify the particular delivery systems to which the time of 45 minutes applied. There was, therefore, no reference to battlefield or longer-range systems when the point was included in a formal classified Joint Intelligence Committee assessment issued on 9 September 2002, which I saw.

27 Oct 2003 : Column 51W