Rt Hon Lord Lilley

    Peter Lilley: Does my right hon. Friend agree that there are lessons for every Member of the House, and every member of the media, regarding how we assess evidence? We can no longer take refuge in the pretence that we did not know the evidence about the non-existence of weapons of mass destruction. The reports states:


    “The assessed intelligence had not established beyond doubt that Saddam Hussein had continued to produce chemical and biological weapons” or that efforts to developed nuclear weapons continued. That evidence was set out in the dossier, and as I showed in evidence to the Chilcot report, someone who read the dossier line by line could not fail to reach the same conclusion as Robin Cook, which was that there were no weapons of mass destruction. The fact that largely we did not reach that conclusion is because we have ceased to look at evidence and we rely on briefings from spin doctors and those on our Front Benches. If the House is to get a grip on issues in future, it must go back to looking at the evidence, and so should journalists.


    David Cameron: A lot of things have changed since that evidence was produced in the way it was, and one of the most important things is the renewed independence and practices of the Joint Intelligence Committee. Ministers still see individual pieces of intelligence, and one wants to have a regular update, but the process of producing JIC reports and assessments is incredibly rigorous. I do not think that what happened could happen again in the same way, because the reports that we get from that Committee are now much clearer about what it knows, and what it thinks or conjectures, rather than anything else. I think we can avoid that situation. However, that does not solve the problem for the House of Commons, because it is impossible to share all that intelligence information widely with every Member of Parliament.