Clare Short

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Person.png Clare Short  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Clare Short.jpg
Born15 February 1946
Alma materUniversity of Leeds
SpouseAlex Lyon m.1981 died 1993
Resigned as International Development Secretary after being misled by Tony Blair over the 2003 Iraq War

Employment.png Secretary of State for International Development

In office
2 May 1997 - 12 May 2003
Appointed byTony Blair
Succeeded byValerie Amos

Clare Short is a British politician who was Secretary of State for International Development from 1997 to 2003.

A Labour Party Member of Parliament until 2006, when she resigned and stood as an Independent, Clare Short was MP for Birmingham Ladywood from 1983 to 2010.[1]

In the run-up to the 2003 Iraq War, Clare Short was threatening to resign as International Development Secretary unless approval was given by the UN Security Council for military action. On 18 March 2003, she withdrew the threat on Tony Blair's assurance that coalition forces would not occupy Iraq, and that United Nations peacekeeping troops were to be deployed there.

The invasion began on 19 March 2003 and, with no sign of any UN peacekeepers, Clare Short resigned from the UK Government on 12 May 2003.[2]

Resignation letter

Dear Tony,
I have decided that I must leave the government.
As you know, I thought the run-up to the conflict in Iraq was mishandled, but I agreed to stay in the government to help support the reconstruction effort for the people of Iraq.
I am afraid that the assurances you gave me about the need for a UN mandate to establish a legitimate Iraqi government have been breached. The security council resolution that you and Jack have so secretly negotiated contradicts the assurances I have given in the House of Commons and elsewhere about the legal authority of the occupying powers, and the need for a UN-led process to establish a legitimate Iraqi government. This makes my position impossible.
It has been a great honour for me to have led the establishment and development of the Department for International Development over the past six years. I am proud of what we have achieved and much else that the government has done.
I am sad and sorry that it has ended like this.

Honourably deceived?

In her 2005 book "An Honourable Deception? New Labour, Iraq, and the Misuse of Power", written more in sorrow than in anger, Clare Short MP revealed her thinking about all aspects of the way Britain had been run since 1997. Drawing on her first-hand experience of events at the heart of power, she assessed the true effects of the centralisation of decision-making in Number 10 and showed how New Labour had contrived to damage the goodwill afforded it by two successive three-figure majorities.[4]

Iraq: 20 years on

Clare Short looks back on Iraq war lies

On 19 March 2023, twenty years after the invasion of Iraq began, Clare Short was interviewed by Crispin Flintoff on his Not the Andrew Marr Show and spoke about the real agenda behind the Iraq war, how she was misled and the consequences of what happened.[5]

On Keir Starmer

Clare Short blasts Starmer's Stalinism

On 12 February 2023, in her interview with Crispin Flintoff on the Not the Andrew Marr Show, Clare Short spoke about the silencing of alternative voices in the Labour Party, the timidity of the Socialist Campaign Group, the Ukraine war and how anti-semitism smears have been used to silence criticism of Israel.[6]


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:The Woman who nearly Stopped the Wararticle19 March 2008Martin BrightIn January 2003 Katharine Gun, a translator at GCHQ, learned something so outrageous that she sacrificed her career to tell the truth. Martin Bright on a brave deed that should not be forgotten.
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