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Re: [casi] the dossier

Guardian Unlimited update 4.30pm

Father of the house given marching orders

Matthew Tempest, political correspondent
Monday February 10, 2003

The most senior member of the House of Commons was ordered out of the
chamber today for repeatedly accusing the government of misleading
parliament and the public over Downing Street's latest "dossier" on Iraqi
In a moment of high drama, Tam Dalyell, the father of the house, refused
more than 10 instructions from the Speaker to sit down, while he accused the
prime minister of deception for "plagiarising an out-of-date Californian PhD
and representing it as an intelligence service report".

As MPs from both sides of the house queued up to criticise the Speaker,
Michael Martin, for not allowing an emergency debate on the issue, Mr
Dalyell was forced to withdraw from the chamber.

Meanwhile the prime minister was accused outright of "misleading" parliament
by one of his own backbenchers, Glenda Jackson, and by the Conservative
Peter Lilley.

Conservative Douglas Hogg, Labour backbencher Paul Flynn and Liberal
Democrat Paul Tyler also joined the attacks on the government document - and
the Speaker's refusal to debate the new revelations of plagiarism.

Mr Martin, unable to assert his control of the chamber for several tense
minutes, insisted that he was "not responsible for utterances by the prime
minister or other ministers, or documents placed in the library".

Mr Dalyell had originally raised a point of order about Mr Martin's refusal
to grant a standing order 24 - or emergency debate - after Channel 4
revealed last week that the Downing Street dossier, entitled Iraq - its
infrastructure of concealment, deception and intimidation lifted large parts
uncredited from an American student's 12-year-old PhD thesis available on
the internet.

Mr Dalyell, the longest serving MP in the Commons, refused to be overuled by
the Speaker, saying: "This matter dwarfs etiquette. Parliament and the
British people have been deceived on a matter of peace and war."

Mr Martin warned him he was "treading on dangerous ground" by refusing to
back down, before asking him to withdraw from the chamber.

But former Tory cabinet minister Peter Lilley also said the house had been
"misled" - usually a resignation offence.

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