One Brick Court silk and Conservative MP Edward Garnier QC is leading the charge to impeach the Prime Minister over the invasion of Iraq.
Garnier is one of a cross-party group of MPs preparing the case against Tony Blair. They argue that the Prime Minister must be held to account for giving reasons for going to war which were later found to be inaccurate.
The impeachment process, which is not bound by time limits, consists of a number of stages.
The MPs – Garnier, fellow Tory Douglas Hogg QC, the Scottish National Party’s Alex Salmond, and Plaid Cymru’s Elfyn Llwyd, who is also a barrister – are currently drafting the terms of impeachment.
Once the terms are drafted, the Speaker’s consent is needed for the motion to be debated in the House of Commons. If the motion is passed, a committee is chosen to draw up articles of impeachment. These would be delivered to the House of Lords, and Black Rod would then ‘arrest’ the Prime Minister.
The House of Lords would then sit as judge and jury in a trial of the Prime Minister, delivering a verdict after evidence from both sides is given.
Garnier, who voted for the invasion of Iraq, told The Lawyer he was seeking impeachment, “in order to get a discrete answer to a discrete question and to keep a check on the power of the executive in the hands of the Prime Minister”.
The last time the process was successful in the UK was in 1806, when Lord Melville was impeached for misappropriation of public money.
Due to constraints on the Commons, it is unlikely that the motion could be debated before Christmas.