Roderic Lyne

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Person.png Sir Roderic Lyne  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Lyne Campbell.jpg
Sir Roderic Lyne questioning his friend Alastair Campbell at the Iraq Inquiry
BornRoderic Michael John Lyne
31 March 1948
Alma materLeeds University
Senior UK diplomat

Sir Roderic Lyne (born 31 March 1948) is a former British diplomat who was British Ambassador to the Russian Federation from 2000 to 2004, when he retired from HM Diplomatic Service.[1] Having been appointed to the Privy Council in 2009,[2] he was brought out of retirement to serve on the Iraq Inquiry into circumstances leading up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[3]

Eyebrows have been raised over his links to companies like BP and JPMorgan Chase which have business interests in Iraq, and there is also the question of how tough he would be with friends and former colleagues. His former boss Lord Carrington didn't see a problem:

"Nobody is going to pull the wool over Roderic's eyes or get away with it. He's somebody who's going to search out the truth and not be afraid of saying so."[4]

Betrayed by Blair

On 24 September 2002, Sir Roderic Lyne handed a personal letter from Tony Blair to Vladimir Putin which said that Iraq was a ‘serious and unique threat’. Lyne also went on Russian TV to deliver a powerful appeal to the Russian people to back Britain. Speaking in Russian, he declared:

"It is necessary for everyone to understand why this danger is so serious. Publishing these materials provided by our intelligence is unprecedented for my Government."

Saddam’s envoy in Moscow, Abbas Khalaf, claimed that the dossier was "groundless rubbish" and accused Sir Roderic of a "propaganda hoax." Embarrassingly for Lyne, the Iraqi envoy’s claims would later prove to be closer to the mark than his own.

One diplomat explained Sir Roderic’s starring role at the Chilcot Inquiry, saying:

"He is one of many people in the Foreign Office who were betrayed by a Government that told lie after lie over Iraq. Rod believed wholeheartedly in what Downing Street told him and carried out his instructions in a professional and committed way. It will be no less than Blair and Campbell deserve if he is the man who finally nails them for what they did. Many senior civil servants started out with great enthusiasm for New Labour, but it faded away when the reality failed to match Blair’s grand rhetoric and Campbell’s dubious methods."[5]

Diplomatic career

Rod Lyne joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1970, and went to study at the Army School of Languages in 1971. His first posting was as Third Secretary to Moscow in 1972. He was sent to Dakar in 1974 and returned to the FCO in 1976. He was appointed Assistant Private Secretary to Foreign Secretary Lord Carrington in 1979. Lyne was posted as First Secretary to UKMIS New York in 1982 where he served until 1986, when he was seconded to Chatham House in London. From 1987 to 1990 he was Counsellor and Head of Chancery at the British Embassy in Moscow.[6]

Between 1990 and 1993 Lyne was Head of the Soviet and then Eastern Department of the FCO. For three years from 1993, Rod Lyne was seconded to 10 Downing Street as Private Secretary to Prime Minister John Major, advising on foreign affairs, defence and Northern Ireland. From 1997 to 2000 Lyne served as Permanent Representative, UKMIS Geneva before finishing his diplomatic career as HM Ambassador to Russia.[7]

Personal life

Rod Lyne married Amanda Mary Smith in 1969. They have two sons (1971 and 1974) and one daughter (1981).

A fanatical Manchester United supporter, he gave one of his sons the middle name "Charlton" after Sir Bobby Charlton. A keen sportsman and outdoorsman, he took part in a half marathon through the streets of Moscow to publicise the plight of two endangered species of Siberian big cats.[8] He also took on Alastair Campbell over three races in St Petersburg, which Campbell won 2-1.


Event Participated in

Iraq Inquiry24 November 20096 July 2016London
"The point of the delay is to give the impression Chilcot has been absolutely painstaking and therefore the bucket of whitewash he will throw cannot be hiding anything. Do not be fooled." (Craig Murray)
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