UK MPs could debate former PM Blair′s misleading of parliament over Iraq war | News | DW | 10.07.2016
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UK MPs could debate former PM Blair's misleading of parliament over Iraq war

UK MPs could debate a motion accusing former PM Tony Blair of misleading the House of Commons. The motion is for holding parliament in contempt over the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Conservative party lawmaker David Davis said on Sunday he will present the motion next Thursday. It will reportedly accuse Blair of misleading parliament. If accepted by Speaker of the House John Bercow, MPs could debate it before the summer recess.

"It's a bit like contempt of court, essentially by deceit. 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?" Davis said.

The Chilcot report into the Iraq invasion published Wednesday said the legal basis for the war was reached in a way that was "far from satisfactory." It did not explicitly say it was illegal, however.

Eight months before the 2003 invasion Blair told US President George W. Bush "I will be with you, whatever." The UK sent 45,000 British troops into battle when peace options had not been exhausted, the inquiry said.

Breaking ranks over Iraq

Meanwhile, Blair's deputy prime minister at the time, John Prescott, said on Sunday that Britain had broken international law when it invaded Iraq in 2003.

Prescott, writing in the "Sunday Mirror" newspaper, said he had now changed his view on the legality of the war and criticized Blair for stopping his ministers from fully discussing in advance whether the war would be legal.

"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," Prescott wrote. "I will live with the decision of going to war and its catastrophic consequences for the rest of my life."

Blair's apology

Many Britons want Blair to face criminal action over his decision to take military action that led to the deaths of 179 British soldiers and more than 150,000 Iraqi civilians over the following six years. Blair this week voiced "sorrow, regret and apology" over mistakes made in the conflict. But also insisted the war was right and the world was safer without toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Prescott added that he backed the decision by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn - a veteran anti-war campaigner and critic of Blair - to apologies for the war on behalf of the party.

jbh/sms (AFP, Reuters)