You might have thought that David Cameron would be steering clear of foreign policy gaffes after his “news-rich” visit to Turkey and India*.
But he has just been accused by Labour of making a new blunder by mistakenly claiming that Iran has a nuclear weapon (at least, we are still assuming he’s wrong) during a PM Direct meeting.
The prime minister was asked why he was backing Turkey to join the EU and said it could help solve the world’s problems….”like the Middle East peace process, like the fact that Iran has got a nuclear weapon”.
Chris Bryant, shadow Europe minister, said Mr Cameron was becoming a “foreign policy klutz”.
“This is less of a hiccup, more of a dangerous habit,” he said. “Considering Iran’s nuclear ambitions constitute one of the most important foreign policy challenges facing us all, it is not just downright embarrassing that the prime minister has made this basic mistake, it’s dangerous.”
The thousands of people who have signed up to a Raoul Moat fanclub on Facebook are clearly moronic on any level. But what exactly is David Cameron trying to achieve today by asking the website to take down the offending page?
I’m told that Andrew Mitchell, the development secretary, will announce this afternoon that he’s appointing Lord Ashdown to a new humanitarian role: “Chair of the Emergency Response Review“.
You have to admire Ed Balls for his persistence. On this morning’s Today programme he suggested that the New Labour battles between the Brown and Blair camps were merely a spot of “creative tension” that led to “great achievements.”
Bear in mind that there were vicious screaming matches between the two men and periods where they were barely on speaking terms – creating dysfunction at the top of the government machine.
Carne Ross, a former British official to the UN*, offered his controversial testimony to the Chilcot inquiry today – and it makes uncomfortable reading for the government of the time.
In his written evidence, Ross said he believed the government had “intentionally and substantially exaggerated” its assessment of Iraq’s capabilities ahead of the 2003 invasion. For example, he revives the point that Iraq was officially thought to have “up to 12” Scud missles – which became “up to 20” in the September dossier.
Ross also highlights flaws in a paper sent to the Parliamentary Labour Party by then foreign secretary Jack Straw to drum up support from MPs.
Incidentally, we said on Friday that Mandy’s publisher had not taken out any adverts; true enough. That hasn’t stopped the Times – which is serialising the memoirs – from doing its own TV ad. Shades of Professor Snape?