Prezza says ‘Sorry’ and slams Blair over Iraq
Past Southport Labour parliamentary candidate John Prescott, now Lord Prescott, has slammed his former Party leader Tony Blair for starting what he calls an illegal war.
Lord Prescott, who served as Tony Blair’s deputy for many years has written in the Daily Mirror that:
“”I will live with the decision of going to war and its catastrophic consequences for the rest of my life,”
“In 2004, the UN secretary-general Kofi Annan said that as regime change was the prime aim of the Iraq War, it was illegal. With great sadness and anger, I now believe him to be right”
Lord Prescott says that the Chilcot report is: “a damning indictment of how the Blair government handled the war – and I take my fair share of blame.”
“As the deputy prime minister in that Government I must express my fullest apology, especially to the families of the 179 men and women who gave their lives in the Iraq War.”
He also expressed concerns about the way Mr Blair ran his government, with Cabinet ministers given “too little paper documentation” to make decisions. Intelligence reports were based on “discussions at receptions and prejudiced sources”, amounting to “tittle-tattle, not hard evidence.”
“We now learn from Chilcot that even the intelligence agencies warned of the inadequacies or reliability of such intelligence sources, But these concerns were never referred to in any of the intelligence documents given to the Cabinet.”
The ex-deputy prime minister said there was a “failure” to provide Cabinet with the reasoning behind then Attorney General Lord Goldsmith’s judgment that military action was legal. Goldsmith “verbally announced it was legal, but provided no documentation to justify it”.
Lord Prescott said the timing of the decision “was clearly designed to endorse an almost immediate action for us to go to war”. He said that Mr Blair was determined to be a “special friend” to the US and president George W Bush.
Referring to a previously secret memo disclosed in the Chilcot files, Lord Prescott said: “Tony’s note to Bush with that devastating quote ‘I am with you, whatever’ was all the Americans needed to go in, without UN support.”
In January 2015, Sefton Council unanimously passed a resolution calling for the Chilcot report to be published as soon as possible moved by Lib Dem councillor with the support of Labour Leader, now Bootle MP Peter Dowd. The original intention had been to publish the report before the 2015 General Election.
Now former Tory Leadership contender and Yorkshire MP David Davis is pressing for Tony Blair to be tried in the House of Commons for Contempt. Unlike David Cameron, Mr Davis had opposed the war. Families of servicemen and women who died in the conflict and some of those hundreds more who were maimed in the conflict but survived are also consulting lawyers with regard to whether Mr Blair can now be sued.
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