Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Porkie Brown Lied Over Defence Cuts

Porkie Brown has been forced to admit lying to Chilcot, parliament and the public over defence spending. Brown sauce spin has come to a sticky end, caught out over defence cuts.

A stunned commons watched with disbelief. Faced with a question from a backbench Tory MP over defence spending, the usual mixture of fudge, denials and useless reams of tractor stats were the order of the day.

Instead a humiliated Brown, chancellor during the Iraq war, was forced to admit spending "did not rise in real terms in one or two years".

"PM admits defence spending error" is Brown's BBC way of putting it. Getting caught out lying though his teeth is another.

To cries of liar, liar, pants on fire, Brown had the bare-faced cheek to tell pals at Chilcot's whitewash the defence budget was "rising in real terms every year", denying starving UK armed forces of equipment.

“The only time the defence budget has been cut was in the 10 years before 1997″, Brown even told a disbelieving commons, faced with questions from Cameron only the other week.

But the truth was out. Figures lodged in the commons library told a different story. The budget had in fact been cut in four years. Brown had lost his wiggle room. Now forced to admit he misled the House and Chilcot over defence spending.

Credit should go to Channel 4 News' Cathy Newman who poured over unearthed new figures after prising out the truth in an FoI request.

Newman reached the cold conclusion: "FactCheck has established that Gordon Brown’s central claim that the defence budget has gone up every year is fiction."

Even the Tory leader was in a state of shock, saying it was the first time in three years he had heard Brown "make a correction or a retraction".

With a masterstroke of spin, Brown had managed to duck the election bogeyman of a Chilcot grilling over starving forces of funds. Insisting that there had been no defence cuts flew in the face of contrary evidence from practically everyone expect his band of New Labour cronies.

Coming under fire from former armed forces chiefs, his own ex-defence secretary, Hoon, and his top MoD official at the time, Tebbit, who told how Brown "guillotined" military spending six months after the invasion.

Even a coroner's verdict and damning public slating of the funding shortfalls came just days after Porkie Brown insisted 'troops had all the equipment they needed'.

Hand-picked Chilcot placemen, working to a tight Downing Street remit with plenty of wiggle room had allowed Brown to get away with murder, despite the massed weight of evidence against him.

Misleading parliament and the public. Telling big Brown lies to Chilcot. The least that should happen is for Porkie Brown to be forced to make a return trip to Chilcot or face commons censure.

But fresh calls for Brown to come clean and face the music will fall on deaf ears, with Chilcot and parliament set to enter purdah this side of the election.

What is left is the disgrace of a discredited prime minister. A dab hand at ducking responsibility. Now no longer allowed to get away droning on with endless denials to fudge the facts in the dying days of his fag-end government.

UPDATE 10.50pm: Cameron says Brown "misled" the Chilcot inquiry and parliament. Political code for lying. After burying the story down bulletin on its 6pm TV News, the BBC finally led with it at 10pm.

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