The Foreign Office lost an appeal against an order by the information commissioner, Christopher Graham, to disclose records of the conversation between the two leaders on 12 March 2003. Graham’s order was made in response to a freedom of information request by Stephen Plowden, a private individual who demanded disclosure of the entire record of the conversation.
“Accountability for the decision to take military action against another country is paramount,” Graham had said in his original order.
Upholding that ruling on Monday, Judge John Angel, president of the information tribunal, said Foreign Office witnesses had downplayed the importance of a decision to go to war, a view the tribunal found “difficult to accept”.
The tribunal added: “Also in our view, particularly from the evidence in this case, the circumstances surrounding a decision by a UK government to go to war with another country is always likely to be of very significant public interest, even more so with the consequences of this war.”