Sir Rod made is made a decent go of pressing Gordon Brown on why inspectors were not given more time. His three main points are:
1) The French told us after the infamous Chirac interview that they were not planning to veto a resolution in more circumstances, they just wanted more time.
2) Other security council members told us they wanted more time.
3) The inspectors were asking for more time
4) The Americans had decided a deadline for diplomacy and set a date for war
The implication is that Brown’s backing for war was not based on the diplomatic route being exhausted but instead on the timetable for war set by the Americans.
Brown denied working on the basis of another nations decision to go to war. But he was not very convincing on explaining why the diplomacy had come to an end.
It is worth repeating what Clare Short said about a meeting between Blair and Brown:
“Gordon came in and the strategy was: blame the French and claim that they’d said they would veto anything. And they said it at the cabinet.”