Jack Straw said that the consequences of the decision to invade Iraq “will live with me for the rest of my life” as he acknowledged that “with hindsight” different choices would have been made.
Mr Straw, who was foreign secretary at the time of the 2003 invasion, said “difficult decisions were made in good faith, based on the evidence available at the time”.
The former Cabinet minister said he did not take “at face value” the intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction — which John Chilcot found was flawed — and disagreed with the Iraq inquiry’s conclusion that diplomatic options had not been exhausted at the time of the invasion.
However, he acknowledged: “With the benefit of hindsight, different decisions would have been made on Iraq, and the inquiry sets out the clear lessons which need to be learnt.
“But the decisions made by me and others can only properly be judged in the context of the time. I take full responsibility for all those that I made.”
Mr Straw said the inquiry did not claim parliament and the public were wilfully misled about the intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction, or that the decision to take military action was unlawful.
He said that he had worked “ceaselessly” to try to gain agreement on a second United Nations Security Council Resolution, which, he believed, could have led to war being averted.
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