IT was not Friday the Thirteenth, though it might well have been for David Miliband and his Foreign and Commonwealth Office, so badly did things go for them at the end of last week.

Firstly, there was the dressing down they were given by two senior High Court judges over their handling of the case of Binyamin Mohammed, a British resident, who claims he was tortured when held in a secret prison in Pakistan. The judges said that Mr Miliband had “acted in a way that was harmful to the rule of law” by suppressing evidence of what the government knows about Mr Mohammed's treatment - not a rebuke that a would-be leader of the Labur Party wants against his name. Secondly, Britain was made to look weak, indecisive and unprincipled by its failure to participate in the vote in the UN Human Rights Council on the Goldstone Report on the Gaza hostilities of last December/January.

This important report has divided opinion throughout the world but that was no reason for Britain to run away from taking one of the three choices available in the vote to endorse it - Yes, No, or Abstention.

For a permanent member of the UN Security Council to be unable to muster the courage to make a choice, however difficult, was deplorable. That France took the same course, though for different reasons, is no consolation. Mr Miliband should account for his actions at the earliest opportunity.


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