CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

BUSINESS QUESTION – PLAGIARISED DOSSIER – 10 July 2003

Dr Julian Lewis: Yesterday, the Prime Minister sought to implicate my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition in the dodgy dossier by insisting that he had been briefed on the intelligence contents of that dossier, when we now know that that was not the case. The day before, however, in his evidence to the Liaison Committee, the Prime Minister, in answer to question 186 from my hon. Friend the Member for Gainsborough (Edward Leigh), denied categorically the claim that 90 percent of that dossier had come from plagiarised material. On 19 June, however, the author of the main article that was plagiarised gave evidence to the Foreign Affairs Committee that 90 percent of the second dossier came from his article and two other articles; and a paper by a Cambridge academic submitted to the Foreign Affairs Committee provided a page-by-page analysis backing that up. May we therefore have a statement from the Prime Minister analysing the contents of the dossier, because he has not only plagiarised the material of that young student but called him a liar by denying his analysis that 90 percent of the dossier was plagiarised and that therefore only a tiny fraction of it could have been intelligence material?

[The Leader of the House of Commons (Mr Peter Hain): This contribution from the Conservative Benches is getting to sound like a rather scratchy old gramophone record. Let us look at the facts. The Prime Minister said yesterday that the briefing given to the Leader of the Opposition was based on intelligence. That is what he said: the very same intelligence that had gone into those two documents. The Leader of the Opposition should come clean. He should say whether he is disputing any of that intelligence, because he did not dispute it at the time. Indeed, he supported the Government's policy at the time. Now, however, he sees a chance to make mischief opportunistically, and he continuously seeks to do so, with the support of the hon. Gentleman.]

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