Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Parliament told differing stories on Saudi bribery allegation?

On January 18th the Prime Minister took direct responsibility for the discontinuation of the Serious Fraud Office's investigation into BAE and Saudi Arabia. He said,
"[The British public] can already judge for themselves because we have made it clear the reasons why my advice— certainly —was that the investigation would do enormous damage to our relationship with Saudi Arabia. I said that because I believed then, and believe now, that it would do enormous damage to our co-operation on terrorism, and to issues to do with security and the broader middle east—quite apart from the thousands of jobs that would have been lost as a result of the loss of that contract, although that was not the reason why the decision was taken.

I believe that that was right then, and I believe that it is right now. Sometimes, in government, I have to give such advice and take responsibility for acting in the interests of the country as a whole. The Government have to put those views forward. I put them forward then; I believed them to be right then and I believe them to be right now."
Yesterday, the MP, Norman Baker, asked the Solicitor General, Mike O'Brien who had overrule power between the Director of the Serious Fraud Office and the Attorney General. The response was that the Attorney General had the final say if there was a difference of opinion on a matter.

When asked what the Attorney General's view was on the subject of BAE and Saudi Arabia, Mike O'Brien refused to say and simply stated that,
"The director of the Serious Fraud Office, not the Attorney-General, decided to discontinue the SFO investigation."
This has left me a little perplexed. There are two different stories coming from the Government on this aren't there?


Anonymous said...

Norman Baker is a Lib Dem MP, not a Tory.

dizzy said...

Corrected. Must have been tired.