Diplomat: Prescott caused ‘fatal gap’ with US

By Phil Scullion

John Prescott's inability to engage with Dick Cheney resulted in a "fatal gap" between the US and the UK, a senior British diplomat has told the Iraq inquiry.

The former deputy prime minister was "not the right man" to be talking to the then US vice president, Sir Anthony Brenton said.

He described the former vice president as "very, very influential" and said the UK suffered for not having direct contact with him.

Sir John Chilcot, who is leading the inquiry, then asked Sir Anthony whether efforts were made to construct a working relationship with Mr Cheney.

Sir Brenton replied that they were not but added: "You couldn't. You were stuck with the fact that we had a deputy prime minister who was not going to engage on this subject matter in any continuing detailed way."

During his appearance in front of the Iraq inquiry last year Mr Prescott described Mr Cheney as being determined to invade the Middle Eastern country which he viewed as 'unfinished business' and complained that "you can't convince him of anything".