11th-hour bid to halt Iraq war revelations

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The foreign office has made a last-ditch attempt to stop one of its former senior diplomats from publishing a book claiming that the government knew that Iraq did not represent a significant threat to the West in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Last night Carne Ross, who was a member of the British mission to the United Nations, declined to comment on a letter asking him to 'reconsider' his decision to publish his book, Independent Diplomat, other than to describe it as 'unpleasant'...

Ross, who signed the Official Secrets Act, has already been forced to censor the book on the grounds of national security.

The row mirrors Foreign Office concerns over attempts by Sir Jeremy Greenstock, the British ambassador to the UN, to write his account of the war in Iraq. Greenstock, Ross's boss, subsequently dropped plans to publish his own book.

Ross's book is likely to make uncomfortable reading for ministers as it raises questions about why the government continued to support the Iraq invasion if it did not believe that Saddam Hussein was a genuine threat.

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