London - The British government Tuesday vetoed the publication of confidential cabinet papers relating to discussions over the legality of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
Justice Secretary Jack Straw told parliament that he could not permit the release of the records because it would cause too much "damage" to democracy.
He had signed a certificate vetoing rulings by the Information Commissioner and Information Tribunal that key records should be disclosed, Straw said.
Publication would have risked "serious damage to Cabinet government which "far outweighed any public benefit," he said.
"Confidentiality serves to promote thorough decision-making," he said, adding that the decision to join military action against Iraq had been "examined with a fine toothcomb."
Britain's Information Tribunal ruled last month that details of crucial 2003 discussions between ministers over the invasion of Iraq should be made public.
The controversy relates to the legal advice available to ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair at the time of the invasion, and in particular to the question of whether or not he was advised to push for a second United Nations Security Council resolution prior to the invasion. dpa
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