Shadow Cabinet member says Tony Blair should stand trial for war crimes over Iraq

Posted On: 
6th July 2016

Tony Blair should stand trial for his role in the Iraq War following the release of the damning Chilcot report, according to a member of the Shadow Cabinet.

Campaigners have called for Tony Blair to be tried for war crimes over the 2003 Iraq invasion
PA Images

Paul Flynn - appointed Shadow Commons Leader and Shadow Welsh Secretary in the past week - said there should be “serious consideration” given to prosecuting the former Prime Minister.

He is the most senior Labour figure to suggest that Mr Blair should stand trial for war crimes at The Hague.

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Sir John Chilcot today delivered a damning verdict on Mr Blair’s decision to take the UK to war in Iraq as his long-awaited report into the conflict was released.

The report revealed that eight months before the 2003 invasion, the former Labour leader had promised George W Bush he would back the US-led action “whatever”. 

Sir John said Mr Blair had made the decision to remove Saddam Hussein “before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted”.

And he was scathing about the intelligence and legal advice given before the war, along with what he called “wholly inadequate” planning for the post-conflict situation.

Shadow Leader of the Commons Mr Flynn said there was a “definite deception” by Mr Blair in the evidence he presented to parliament while making th case for war.

“I think really there should be serious consideration to him being prosecuted for this but I think this remains to be seen,” he told the BBC’s Daily Politics.

The MP, who also doubles up as Shadow Welsh Secretary, added: "I think that the important issue here is that it is not just one individual.

“Parliament's on trial. It wasn't just Tony Blair, it was most of the Labour backbenchers, it was all of the Tory backbenchers - except half a dozen."

In the House of Commons this afternoon Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn suggested the war was illegal and called for Mr Blair to "face up to the consequences” of his actions.

He branded the invasion “an act of military aggression launched on a false pretext,” although he stopped short of saying the former premier should be prosecuted.

But he is expected to go further in his criticisms during a second speech about the war later today.

Former SNP leader Alex Salmond, who is leading cross-party attempts to impeach Mr Blair, said the ex-Prime Minister should be "held accountable" for his actions.

In the Commons, he said: "I don’t understand, given that we now know from Chilcot, the memo written by the then Prime Minister on the 28 July to George W Bush, saying ‘I will be with you, whatever’, is in any way compatible with what was said to parliament and people at the time.

“So amid all this stuff about improving processes, which is fantastically important and I acknowledge it, is it not at the end of the day people that make decisions? And in our search for responsibility, wouldn’t it help if individuals responsible were held accountable?”

Mr Blair has said he "will take full responsibility for any mistakes without exception or excuse" and will respond in further detail later.