updated 2/24/2009 1:35:48 PM ET 2009-02-24T18:35:48

The British government said Tuesday that it won't publish minutes of top-level government meetings held prior to the Iraq war.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw said the government will block publication of minutes of Cabinet discussions held days before the Britain joined the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The documents could provide insight into one of the most controversial decisions by former Prime Minister Tony Blair. His participation in the war gravely diminished his popularity.

Such records are normally kept secret for at least 30 years. But Britain's Information Tribunal had ruled the public interest in them outweighed confidentiality concerns.

However, Straw said that release of the minutes could damage the way Britain's government works.

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