Former Iraq envoy refutes diplomats' attack on Blair

TONY Blair’s former special envoy to Iraq yesterday backed the government’s policy in the Middle East.

Sir Jeremy Greenstock issued a detailed rebuttal of claims attacking the Prime Minister’s stance made in a damaging letter to Downing Street from more than 50 former diplomats. It had been reported that Sir Jeremy had a hand in drafting the letter.

In the letter, the diplomats said they had "watched with deepening concern" as Britain followed the US lead in Iraq and Israel, and called for a debate in parliament.

The diplomats urged Mr Blair to start influencing the White House to change its views, or to stop backing them against the will of MPs.

One of the signatories, Oliver Miles, a former British ambassador to Libya, appeared to suggest Sir Jeremy had co-operated with the letter.

But in a statement released by the prime minister’s official spokesman, Sir Jeremy said: "I cannot accept what Oliver Miles is quoted as saying. I made clear that I would not sign the letter, not only because of my recent position, but because I disagreed with it.

"I was not consulted on the final draft - I still believe it is unbalanced and confrontational on the subject of Iraq."

His statement appeared to suggest he was approached by his former colleagues as they drafted the letter.

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