Ford calls on Blair to apologise after Chilcot Report

Alliance Leader David Ford has said former Prime Minister Tony Blair should apologise to the country, after the Chilcot Report revealed he had taken the UK to war in Iraq before all peaceful options had been exhausted.

The report, launched today by Sir John Chilcot, looks at the UK’s involvement in the 2003 Iraq War and lessons to be learned. It states the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq, despite other actions still being available; judgements around weapons of mass destruction were not justified; intelligence had not established beyond doubt Saddam Hussein was producing chemical and biological weapons, and the circumstances of the legal basis for the UK’s military action were far from satisfactory.

“Despite other achievements such as the Good Friday Agreement, the Iraq war, its lead-up and fallout will define Tony Blair’s time in office,” said South Antrim MLA Mr Ford.

“Thousands of people died, including 179 British soldiers, while more people were injured and displaced due to the war. We must not forget about them and their loved ones today. Mr Blair needs to now admit to his mistakes and at points dishonesty, and apologise publicly for his actions.

“Alliance is not a pacifist party and we accept there are some circumstances in which the use of military force can be justified as a last resort. However, we also back the rule of law, which internationally means respecting the will and authority of the UN. That did not happen in this case.

“Today’s report shows the UK entered a major war under false pretences and without properly exploring the consequences, reverberations which are still being felt today. We try to set ourselves to a higher moral standard. Clearly in this case, Mr Blair and others did not meet that. There should be reflections and thoughts about next actions from those quarters today.”

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