The communications strategist and close adviser to Tony Blair has given evidence before an inquiry into Britain’s role in the Iraq war.
Alastair Campbell told his inquisitors that the former prime minister had wanted to go through UN channels to deprive Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.
“He really believed, and he still does believe that in these situations you have to try exhaustively to go down the diplomatic route but when you’re dealing with somebody like Saddam Hussein you have to have the genuine threat of force there alongside,” Campbell said.
Campbell denies Blair was persuaded into a more forceful policy on Iraq at a meeting with President Bush in April 2002.
As one of Blair’s closest advisers, Campbell is the most prominent figure to have appeared before the six-week old inquiry. Tony Blair is expected to give his evidence in coming weeks.