Tony Blair may face contempt of parliament motion over Iraq

Jeremy Corbyn ‘probably would’ support holding of ex-PM to account over going to war

In a lenghty press conference former British prime minister Tony Blair says he takes full responsibility for the failings made in the Iraq War.

 

British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has indicated he will back a House of Commons motion to find Tony Blair in contempt of parliament following accusations he deceived MPs over the Iraq War.

Mr Corbyn said he “probably would” support the effort to find a parliamentary way to hold the former prime minister to account over the war.

A motion of contempt is expected to be tabled by senior MPs including Tory David Davis, who accused Mr Blair of “deceit”.

Mr Corbyn told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “I urge colleagues to read the Butler report and read the Chilcot report about the way in which Parliament was denied the information it should have had, the way in which there was lack of preparations for the post-invasion situation in Iraq and the way there were assertions of weapons of mass destruction.

“Parliament must hold to account, including Tony Blair, those who took us into this particular war.”

Asked if he would back the motion, he said: “I haven’t seen it yet, but I think I probably would.”

Mr Davis said he will make a motion of contempt about Mr Blair in the Commons this week.

‘Illegal’

It comes after Lord Prescott, the deputy prime minister at the time of the 2003 invasion, claimed the Iraq War was illegal.

Mr Davis said if his motion is accepted by speaker John Bercow, it could be debated before parliament breaks up for the summer.

“It’s a bit like contempt of court. Essentially by deceit,” he said.

Referring to the 2003 vote in invade Iraq, he added: “If you look just at the debate alone, on five different grounds the House was misled, three in terms of the weapons of mass destruction, one in terms of the UN votes were going, and one in terms of the threat, the risks.

“He might have done one of those accidentally, but five?”

He said if the House agreed Mr Blair had held the House in contempt, MPs would have to persuade the authorities “to take the next step”.

The long-awaited Chilcot report strongly criticised the way former prime minister Mr Blair took the country to war in 2003 on the basis of “flawed” intelligence with inadequate preparation at a time when Saddam Hussein did not pose an “imminent threat”.

Sir John Chilcot also said the way the decision about the legal basis for the war was reached was “far from satisfactory”, but the report did not rule on the legality of the military action.

Mr Blair has defended the decision to oust Saddam and insisted that his efforts to form a close relationship with the US had persuaded Mr Bush to pursue a second UN security council resolution, which ultimately was not obtained.

PA