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Meyer book may reveal Iraq secrets

By Francis Elliott, Deputy Political Editor
May 22, 2005, 10:09

The first witness account of the summit at which Tony Blair committed Britain to join the US-led war in Iraq is to be published later this year.

Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain's former ambassador to Washington, is writing his memoirs, The Independent on Sunday has learnt.

The diplomat was present when Mr Blair met George Bush in the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas, in March 2002 and played a key role in the run-up to the war. His decision to go public will dismay Mr Blair who denies he agreed to "regime change" a year before the invasion.

The book, as yet untitled, is to due to be published on the eve of Labour's annual conference, a gathering that could prove deeply uncomfortable for the leader.

Sir Christopher, now chairman of the Press Complaints Commission, stresses the book will be "not just about Iraq". His words on Iraq have already, unwittingly, embarrassed Downing Street when a secret memo from him written the day after the Crawford summit was leaked last year. He wrote: "We backed regime change but the plan had to be clever and failure was not an option."

His account was likely to make uncomfortable reading for Mr Blair, according to friends of the former diplomat.

The book, as yet untitled, to be published by Weidenfeld & Nicholson, also faces competition from a forthcoming tome by Sir Jeremy Greenstock, Britain's former ambassador to the UN and Special Representative in Iraq.

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