By Adam Tomkins
This book provides a thorough and authoritative account of the constitutional implications of the Scott report. It is the only book-length treatment of this pivotal Report. The Scott report was established by John Major in 1992 to look into British government policy during the 1980s with regard to trade (including the arms trade) with Iraq and to establish whether the Government had lied to Parliament about its policy. Scott also investigated a number of high-profile and controversial criminal prosecutions which the government brought against several companies that were accused of illegally exporting "defence equipment" to Iraq. All of these cases failed. This book does more than merely relate the Scott story. It offers a full analysis of what the report means for the future of constitutional government, and constitutional reform, in Britain. Issues of lying to Parliament and ministerial responsibility; of the regulation and control of the civil service; and of open government and freedom of information are all reappraised in the light of Scott's discoveries. Central questions of secret intelligence and troublesome "public interest immunity certificates" are also considered. Unusually for a political scandal, Scott was not an exclusively national affair affecting only one country. There was a little-known equivalent to the Scott inquiry in the USA, and the lessons of the US experience are also discussed here - for the first time in Britain.