Blair: Decision to invade Iraq was taken 'in good faith'

Blair: Decision to invade Iraq was taken 'in good faith'

Former UK prime minister Tony Blair his insisted his decision to commit British forces to the invasion of Iraq was taken "in good faith" but he would "take full responsibility for any mistakes".

Mr Blair was severely criticised by John Chilcot's inquiry into the Iraq war, but the former premier said the report "should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit" against him.

He added that his decisions were taken "in what I believed to be the best interests of the country" and added that he still believed "it was better to remove Saddam Hussein".

Chilcot's report said the circumstances in which Mr Blair and Attorney General Lord Goldsmith decided that there was a legal basis for UK military action in Iraq were "far from satisfactory".

He also said there was "no imminent threat" from Saddam at the time of the invasion and the intelligence about his weapons of mass destruction was "flawed".

But Mr Blair said the report found there was "no falsification or improper use of intelligence", "no deception of Cabinet" and "no secret commitment to war" was given to US President George Bush.

He said the report "does not make a finding on the legal basis for military action but finds that the attorney general had concluded there was such a lawful basis" by March 13 2003.

Mr Blair said: "The report should lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit. Whether people agree or disagree with my decision to take military action against Saddam Hussein; I took it in good faith and in what I believed to be the best interests of the country."

He acknowledged the Chilcot report made "real and material criticisms" of "preparation, planning, process and of the relationship with the United States".

Mr Blair, who will set out a full response to the report later, said: "I will take full responsibility for any mistakes without exception or excuse.

"I will at the same time say why, nonetheless, I believe that it was better to remove Saddam Hussein and why I do not believe this is the cause of the terrorism we see today whether in the Middle East or elsewhere in the world.

"Above all I will pay tribute to our armed forces. I will express my profound regret at the loss of life and the grief it has caused the families, and I will set out the lessons I believe future leaders can learn from my experience."

READ MORE: Chilcot report: Blair rushed ill-prepared troops to war with no imminent threat

READ MORE: Chilcot Report into the Iraq War: Key points at a glance

More on this topic

Tony Blair faces calls for Iraq war legal action after Chilcot ReportTony Blair faces calls for Iraq war legal action after Chilcot Report

I have carried decision to invade Iraq with me for 13 years, says emotional Tony BlairI have carried decision to invade Iraq with me for 13 years, says emotional Tony Blair

Corbyn: Chilcot report shows Iraq war was act of ‘aggression’Corbyn: Chilcot report shows Iraq war was act of ‘aggression’

'Never again' - Families of British soldiers killed in Iraq war react to Chilcot report'Never again' - Families of British soldiers killed in Iraq war react to Chilcot report


More in this Section

Greece to allow visitors from 29 countries next monthGreece to allow visitors from 29 countries next month

Blood cancer and pancreatic disease drugs to be tested on Covid-19 patientsBlood cancer and pancreatic disease drugs to be tested on Covid-19 patients

Minnesota police arrest CNN reporter on air covering Minneapolis protestsMinnesota police arrest CNN reporter on air covering Minneapolis protests

Famous tourist sites remain closed as lockdown rules are easedFamous tourist sites remain closed as lockdown rules are eased


Lifestyle

One word: iconic.90s celebrity power couples who were serious style goals back in the day

Alanis Morissette, celebrating 25 years since Jagged Litle Pill, talks to Ken Lexington on self-medication, love addiction, anxiety, depression and anger as an important lifeforceFor Alanis Morrisette, anger is an energy

Another week, another fiendishly fun test of your arts and showbiz knowledge from Irish Examiner Arts Editor Des O'DriscollScene & Heard: Fun culture quiz

The story of how the Cork-based executive head chef faced her “demons” and turned around her life just before her 30th birthday.This is me: Trisha Lewis transforms her body and mindset

More From The Irish Examiner