06/07/2016 Daily Politics


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Seven years after it was commissioned, the Chilcot Report


into the Iraq War is finally published.


This is John Chilcot speaking live at the launch of his report


He says his report will criticise individuals and institutions,


and says he hopes it will answer questions for families of British


It was one the most controversial foreign policy decisions


179 British lives were lost in the invasion and its aftermath.


So what are the lessons of Iraq and what will it mean for British


The Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition will make


their statements on the Chilcot report after their weekly sparring


contest at Prime Ministers' Questions.


We'll have all the action and reaction live from midday


Yes, it's going to be a busy 90 minutes and to help us digest it


all we are joined for the whole programme today by Charlie Falconer.


He was, until recently, the Shadow Justice Secretary


and in a former life he was Lord Chancellor


And we also have the Conservative MP Julian Lewis.


He currently chairs the Defence Select Committee.


Now, the Chilcot Report is obviously the big story in Westminster today


and it's being published more or less as we come on air.


Has been under embargo, actually, until 11.30 three.


So we are just going to give ourselves a few minutes to digest


the headline findings of the report and get some reaction.


But first, Jo has been keeping an eye on the other big running story


in Westminster - the Conservative leadership election.


So there are now just three contenders for


Liam Fox came last in yesterday's ballot amongst MPs, with 16 votes


Stephen Crabb, who came fourth with 34 votes,


Both contenders threw their weight behind Theresa May, who was already


way out in front with 165 supporters, half of the total votes.


So it looks like Theresa May will be one of the top two to face


the Conservative membership, but who could be her biggest threat?


The Daily Politics has been given exclusive access to a new Survation


poll of Conservative councillors showing that whilst Theresa May


is way out in front with 46%, Andrea Leadsom has the support


of nearly 22% of councillors, compared to Micheal Gove,


Julian Lewis, it is Theresa May's to lose? Yes, but it is a very


different electorate at the final stage. I must declare my interest, I


am a supporter of Andrea's. I believe if she can get to the final


stage, she will impress significantly and may well win. Do


you agree with Stephen Crabb, who has dropped out, that with Theresa


May so far ahead there needs to be a new leader quickly? No, not


particularly. We constructed our electoral system with these factors


in mind. It was decided it was for the members of Parliament to whittle


it down to the last two and for the membership of the party to make the


final decision. That should be done when the membership of the party has


had a chance to listen to the two remaining candidates at a series of


hustings around the country. Do you appreciate the argument that these


are very uncertain times and there is the potential for turbulence,


politically, economically, it may not happen, but there is that


potential and a new Prime Minister is needed quickly? Not if it is


going to result in a foreshortening of the democratic process. What is


more important than settling even short-term turbulence is making the


right decision in a democratic manner. I think the contest, which


is set to go through to September, is perfectly adequate in terms of a


timeline to be able to adapt the two remaining candidates and make the


right decision. You are supporting Andrea Leadsom, what you make of Ken


Clarke, caught on camera yesterday, he probably would say he would say


it anyway, he said he didn't believe Andrea Leadsom wanted to leave the


European Union? It interesting, he is someone who never wanted to leave


the European Union so he would have an interest in dissing the prospects


of somebody who does. Margaret Thatcher herself, once upon a time,


wore a jumper festooned with European Union country flags and,


yet, subsequently toughened her line. The point that made me realise


that Andrea was the candidate for me, while I realised all along she


had poor is, expertise and versatility, what I didn't know is


whether she had political courage. By joining the Brexit campaign at a


time when it didn't look good, she showed she had political courage.


Julian appears to be suggesting that Ken Clarke's off-again intervention


was a calculated attempt to undo Andrea Leadsom. One thing I can say


about Ken Clarke, it would not have been calculate it, it would have


been spontaneous. Thank you for announcing that intervention. You


say somebody like Margaret Thatcher changed her mind when it came to her


enthusiasm for the European Union, and that is true. On this programme,


in 2013, Andrea Leadsom argued leaving the EU would be a disaster


for the economy. What makes you so sure that she is the right person to


lead the UK out? I'll tell you what makes me so sure, the fact is, at


the time that she made those comments, she still believed, and


was driving, to see if a deal could be reached that could make it


permissible and acceptable to remain within the European Union. A


disaster for the economy? She did her best to see whether the European


Union was reform at all. She came to the conclusion, which a lot of us


have had, who had been more actively involved for a longer period, that


it wasn't and she nailed her colours firmly to the mast. She impressed


enough people to put her in the commanding position she is in. In


the last few minutes, John Chilcot has finally published his 12 volume


report of his inquiry into the Iraq war and its aftermath. It is 2.6


million words. Now, a select group of journalists


has been in a so-called lock-in since 8 o'clock this morning looking


at the report and we can now report Page 1 of the inquiry report states,


"The UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options


for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not


a last resort." The inquiry also published a memo


between Tony Blair and George Bush, That was just about nine months


before the invasion. Well, Sir John Chilcot


has just finished making a statement - here's


a flavour of what he had to say. It is now clear that policy on Iraq


was made on the basis of flawed intelligence and assessments. They


were not challenged and they should have been. The findings on Iraq's


WMD capabilities, set out in the report of the Iraq Survey Group in


October 2004 were significant, but they did not support preinvasion


statements by the UK Government which had focused on Iraq's current


capabilities. Mr Blair and Mr Straw had described them as vast stocks,


and an urgent and growing threat. In response to those findings, Mr Blair


told the House of Commons that, although Iraq might not have had


stockpiles of actually deployable weapons, Saddam Hussein retained the


intent and the capability, and was in breach of United Nations


obligations. That was not, however, the explanation for military action


he had given before the conflict. John Chilcot, a few seconds ago.


Let's get initial reactions from both of you. Charles Faulkner, Tony


Blair's statements on the threat posed by WMDs were not justified. Mr


Blair took Britain to war before the peaceful options had been exhausted.


That's pretty damning? Era yes, and it is a very serious criticism. The


first one, namely that he, in effect, overstated the extent of the


risk, this is about the intelligence assessments. As far as the


intelligence bodies in the world were concerned, the Western world,


they all thought that Saddam did have weapons of mass destruction.


With lots of caveats. What Mr Blair said, was not corrected by the


agencies, though they knew differently, he said at the time


that the intelligence was extensive, detailed and authoritative. We now


know from the Butler report, not one of these three words was true.


Scrappy and patchy were the words used. It was also very clear that


they believed they did have weapons of mass destruction. The dossier you


are referring to, I don't know if it is the dossier or the statement in


Parliament, it was authored by the intelligence services. Of course,


there might have been imprisoned in a way they shouldn't have been. What


about the broader point that we went to war, we were taken to war before


the peaceful options had been exhausted? People told us that at


the time? And a choice had to be made about whether or not, and this


is March 2003, you gave Saddam yet a further opportunity to comply with


obligations to make disclosure about what his weapons of mass destruction


were, and a judgment had to be made. A judgment was made by the USA and


the UK that he should not be given more time. That is in the context of


somebody that had been trying to stall the weapons inspectors since


1991. All right. Let me come to you in a minute. We will hear first from


Norman, our political correspondent. Let's go straight to him in


Westminster. He has been following this. Norman, you are outside the


QE2, where the report is being unveiled. There are demonstrations


going on. What are the immediate take aways from this? Well, it seems


to me that this report is much, much more damning than anyone had


suspected. It is basically a din and see a not pretty much every aspect


of the war, from the reasons to go to war, to the threat posed by


Saddam Hussein. The claims he had weapons of mass destruction, the


intelligence provided by the intelligence services, the legal


case for war, the equipment the troops were sent to fight with, the


lack of planning any aftermath. The only people that emerge with any


credit our soldiers and civilians that were deployed in Iraq. What


strikes me most about the report, the summary, is the figure towering


over it who runs through the whole report, Tony Blair. What becomes


clear is that he had become personally convinced that Saddam


Hussein had to go months and months, and months, before the war, before


telling Cabinet colleagues, before telling the country. He was


personally signed up to getting rid of Saddam Hussein. What changed his


mind seems to have been 9/11. A few months after that, in December, he


is writing to President Bush, already discussing regime change in


Iraq, albeit floating the idea that it could be through an uprising in


Iraq which the British and Americans would support militarily. There is


then that credible meeting in Crawford, Texas, in April 2002,


where the two men pretty much firmer the military option. In July, and


the known to the Cabinet for anyone else, Tony Blair writes to President


Bush saying, I will be with you, whatever. He cites what has happened


in Kosovo, Afghanistan and the last Gulf War. That seems to me to be the


moment when he signalled that he is prepared to remove Saddam Hussein by


British military intervention. We move forward to January 2003, three


months before the outbreak of war. Tony Blair, again right into


President Bush, saying the military option looks the most likely and


commits to three British divisions being deployed in southern Iraq. As


I say, the central story, I think, is Tony Blair parishing, deriving


this whole drift to war. -- pushing. It accelerates as the days, weeks


and months ago one. His cabinet, by and large, out of the loop or mere


spectators. Thank you very much a superb summary


the initial report or Doppler may get a reaction from you. I haven't


yet had the chance to hear the full conclusions but I must say, it


doesn't look as if that -- does look as if there was a preordained


agenda. I must declare interest, I was a shallow defenceman struck the


time and I strongly supported removing Saddam Hussein but what I


did not support was the use of the intelligence services as a shelter


behind which the government was secretly trying to mitigate events,


-- manipulate events, and that soon became a situation where the joint


intelligence committee was nothing more than a political football. The


position ought to be that the secret agencies do their business, advice


the government and the government then makes the decision. The


government should not be pulling them into the limelight and saying,


"If you don't believe us you'd better believe them," particularly


when it had Alastair Campbell trying to get them to rewrite their own


conclusions took we are going to continue discussing this in a moment


but you have some other guests. Joining me now from College


Green is Mark Seddon - he was on Labour's National


Executive at the time of the Iraq War and fought internal


battles with Tony Blair - he presented his evidence


to the Chilcot Inquiry. And Dr Alan Mendoza


from the Henry Jackson Society. Welcome to both of you. Mark Seddon,


first of all, it's a damning report, certainly when you look at it


initially in every aspect of the war. Does all the blame for


Britain's involvement in Iraq now rests on the shoulders of Tony


Blair? No, it doesn't did good is hugely damning report and you do


wonder because the process of challenging this whole idea of there


being weapons of mass destruction began about a year ago and you have


to ask yourself the question, if it's possible for a journalist such


as myself or other people to interview the former head of the UN


weapons inspector Scott Ritter and him to tell us that there were no


likely weapons of mass destruction because they've done their job, that


would then ring alarm bells. There were three resolutions and at the


Labour Party conference, essentially we were trying to establish that no


action should be taken by the British Government without the full


support of the noted nations. I had to be security Council backing. Each


one of those was shot down and it has to be said that the late Robin


Cook and the former president of the UN assembly helped me write them. So


it does make you wonder what on earth was going on and I'm afraid


that the inquiry does tell us what was going on, which was essentially


that there was a drive for regime change. That's what it was. Except


when you look at the declassified memo from Tony Blair to George Bush,


it also shows that Tony Blair was convinced that Saddam Hussein was a


potential threat and Batty had weapons of mass destruction and was


prepared to use them. So does that not dispel the argument that Tony


Blair went ahead with his intentions knowing there were no weapons of


mass destruction? Hans Blix, if you recall, who was somebody else who


was underlined along with the Security Council, was arguing for


more time. The previous head of the UN is weapons inspectors had said


that they had done the job. There was real doubt as to what the Iraqis


might have if anything, really, so if that was the pretext it was an


incorrect pretext and I think that has come through in this report in a


very polite way. It's a very, very powerful report it You say it is


polite because some of the language that is used actually doesn't pin,


if you like, the Lehman Tony Blair in quite the way some his critics


would like to see. Do you think Tony Blair now was wrong to go to war,


Alan Mendoza? Ideye Mickey was wrong to go to war. I think what is clear


is that he exaggerated things. -- I don't think he was wrong to go to


war. Everyone knew that Saddam was a threat. Everyone knew, including his


own generals, it seems, that he had a programme of some kind of weapons


of mass to structured, everyone knew he was a barbaric leader. It wasn't


wrong to go to war and try and remove such a person who did


threaten our security, but it is clear the report has laid bare some


of the contradictions and problems of foreign policy decision-making of


the time and that is what we should be focusing on, looking at how we


can better improve our foreign policy-making process in the future


so that if there is a similar conflict that looks like coming, we


do properly analyse data and make sure we make an informed decision,


rather than one which takes bits and pieces and concoct them into a


theory. But Alan Mendoza, there is the line that says, "I will be with


you whatever," Tony Blair to George Bush, which is the charge that was


put to the then Prime Minister, that he had already decided to go to war,


he had already decided to support the Americans in going into Iraq


without the UN security resolution and without, at that time, the


say-so of the House of Commons. I don't think anyone would think in


their right mind that Saddam Hussein would ever comply with the UN. He


hadn't done so since 1991. At some point, as he states, a political


decision had to be made. It is clear that Tony Blair came to that early,


he decided early to do that. It doesn't mean that in 2003 or 2004 he


wouldn't have made the same decision. Mach seven, what about the


calls from some parts of the Labour Party and certainly Jeremy Corbyn,


the Labour leader, who was reported to want to accuse Tony Blair of


being a war criminal. Is that they're? Gove it is the


International Criminal Court to investigate that. I think the damage


has been done and needs to be repaired to the United Nations, to


the Security Council, to Kofi Anand. I think if you asking me my own


personal view that Tony Blair has to reflect very long and hard on this


report and I hope that he can see that he was wrong to push for


unilateral military action without the support of the United Nations


and I hope that he will apologise to all of those people who lost sons


and daughters, both from Britain and Iraq, and I hope, more importantly


than Tony Blair, that this is never allowed to happen again. We do not


have unilateral military action taken by this country. Thank you


both very much. Charlie Faulkner, Chilcot says we


rushed into war prematurely, we haven't exhausted all the options.


Casts fresh doubt on the legality of our actions, it makes clear the


intelligence was deeply flawed and that the aftermath of it all was a


disaster. Where is the good news in this? I haven't read the report and


we visit the need to learn the lessons of it. In a way, though,


looking at it from the point of view of what was going on at the time the


decision was made, as I said earlier wrong, the dilemma for the


government was what to do about Saddam Hussein and the extent to


which he posed a threat to the region and may be wider. These are


difficult decisions. The threat to the region came subsequently, didn't


it? The region ended up in chaos. We now know that Saddam was not a


threat. He had been a threat to the region. We tabby Iran war, the


Kuwait intervention, but by that time he wasn't. The whole threat to


the region came after our invasion. At that time, in 2003, what it


appeared, and this was the view that was widely held, was that he was


trying to avoid having revealed what the extent of his weapons of mass


destruction were. Subsequently, as you rightly say, there were no


stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction. Wasn't just hindsight


it topped the French at the time told us not to go down this road,


they warned us that this was a dangerous thing, that things were


not as clear-cut as the Blair government was making out. Hans


Blix, the weapons inspector, he said you needed more time, he haven't


found anything yet. You don't need hindsight to have been right at the


time. People were right and the government was wrong. You have to


make a judgment in March 2003. That was the dilemma that the government


faced. The UN had passed countless resolutions between 1991 up to and


including 1441 in November 2002, all posited on the basis that he had


weapons of mass destruction. Why would he be evasive? Why had he


thrown out the weapons inspectors in 1998? Why was it that he would not


provide full cooperation? Because he was terrified that his own people


might rise up against him if he didn't have these weapons of mass


destruction. It was an act, we know that now. It was all an act and he


fooled us. Here is an issue, with your defence hat on. You can have


arguments about the policy of the time, about the aftermath and so on


but I think a lot of people watching at home, when they get to see more


of this Chilcot Report, will come to this, which is that even though the


situation in Iraq was far from resolved by 2006, indeed things were


going from bad to worse in Basra, the bit that we were occupying, we


opened a second front in Afghanistan and began to ramp above forces there


and the Chilcot Report is quite clear, we did not provide our forces


with the resources to fight on two fronts. Indeed, and the problem that


we have is that in peace time we never wish to invest as much in


defence as we should so that when a conflict breaks out, we never have


adequate resources and we only develop those resources as the


conflict goes on. But can I just put two point of your consideration? The


thing that meant that it was more dangerous than normal to adopt a


policy of containment with Saddam Hussein, which would normally be the


correct policy, was the appearance on the scene of Al-Qaeda in such a


terrible way in 2001 because the fear was that if, for any reason,


stocks of mass destruction weapons, by which I mean anthrax, not


lower-level weapons, weapons that could kill, hundreds of thousands of


people by deployment of relatively small quantities of these weapons,


if for any reason a dictator chose to supply those to the terrorists,


you couldn't use the deterrent option. Syria could have done the


same, we didn't invade Syria. Al-Qaeda was almost nowhere to be


seen in Iraq. Out only when it appeared, after we'd invaded, then


it was everywhere. Indeed, and that leads me to second point I wanted to


make. It was perfectly possible for a dictator who is faced with an


enemy to supply the enemies of his enemies with deadly weapons that


they would unhesitatingly use. But on the second point, in relation to


what happened in Syria, was that those of us who had learned the


lessons of Iraq, and I was one, and who voted not to allow Assad to be


brought down, realised that the main problem was that there was optimism


that if you pulled down these dictators, democracy would emerge,


whereas in reality what Iraq showed was that you either have a


repressive dictatorship or you have bloody Civil War of 1000 years'


standing between the different branches of Islam and that is the


real lesson that we applied to Syria. Many people said that at the


time and it turns out now, it's not quite clear that the Bush


administration even knew the difference between Sunni and Shia.


They knew nothing of the history of Iraq at all. The British may have


known a bit more but it looks like the Americans knew nothing and they


have prepared almost nothing for the aftermath, which is probably the


biggest unforgivable thing, because they didn't attack us, we attacked


them supposedly to make a better society, and we had no plans to do


so and Mr Blair did not insist that the Americans had that. These are


things that are clear and the Chilcot Report. Laura Coombs BOE,


our political editor, has joined us. You were in the lock in. That is


just the Executive summary, which is a big enough document on its own. Is


it clear to you yet, Laura, what the political fallout is going to be


from this? It seems now to be a pretty damning report. It is under


people were worried that there would be a whitewash, if there were any


suggestions of that, it is not. Impolite technicolour, this is a


very, very damning verdict on exact what happened. In terms of the


political consequences, there is one very important thing, most of the


main actors criticised in here, and there are many of them, have gone on


to pastures new. They are not people who are in the political front line


any more, they have moved on, but the question of Tony Blair's


reputation will, to some extent, rest on this, and in the last few


minutes he has released a statement looking for the positives, I suppose


in this, saying that this should lay to rest any idea that there was


deceit or there was bad faith or it was deception in any way and he


will, I'm sure, through the day, certainly hang on to a very clear


conclusion in there, but there was not evidence that Number Ten do


liberally manufactured evidence. Of course that has been one of the most


controversial claims all along. -- deliberately manufactured evidence.


This is a remarkable document because this is not fractions of


what happened, this is not scraps. This is probably the most


comprehensive analysis of a conflict in modern times and I think for any


politician who is thinking about military action in the next few


decades, they'll think of this because here we are, almost all of


the details about the decision-making, all of the details


of so many of the mistakes, out in public view. It is felt like it is a


long time coming but in historical terms, this is an astonishingly


rapid and damning conclusion of what politicians who are not on the front


line, but they are still around, did wrong. We are going to go over to


PMQs in a minute but lets to see if we have time. On the legality of the


issue, Chilcot talks about the circumstances being wrong. I'm not


quite clear, perhaps you are. He's not saying, though, it's illegal. He


pulls his punch or doesn't come to that conclusion. It is very


important that our viewers to understand this. Chilcot was not


constituted to give illegal verdict. It was not a court, they were not a


jury. -- a legal verdict. However, my reading of what he says is that


he goes almost as far as he could in suggesting that there may be caused


to show that the decision was potentially... Let's go straight


over to the House of Commons for PMQs.


Chloe Smith. Mr Speaker, I am a Conservative because I believe it is


not where you are coming from, it is where you are going to. Does my


right honourable friend agree? Does my right honourable friend agree


that the opportunities to succeed no matter what your background is what


we want for Britain? I absolutely agree, making sure all citizens have


life chances to make the most of their talents should be the driving


mission for the rest of this Parliament. Yesterday we were


talking about boosting national citizens service, which I think will


play a key role in giving young people the confidence and life


skills to make the most of the talents they have. I think today it


would be appropriate if we pause for a moment to think of those people


who lost their lives in the bombings in Baghdad in recent days. The


people that have suffered and their families, the end of Ramadan, it


must be a terrible experience for them and we should send our


sympathies and solidarity. I join the Prime Minister in wishing Wales


well. I'll be cheering for them along with everybody else. That's


quiet, isn't it? There is life after all! 30 years ago, Mr Speaker, the


Shire Brooke colliery employed thousands of workers in skilled,


well played, unionised jobs, digging coal. Today, thousands of people


work on the same site. The vast majority are an zero hours


contracts, no union representation, the minimum wage is not even paid.


Doesn't it sum up Britain? Let me join the honourable gentleman in


giving my thoughts to those killed in these terrible terrorist attacks.


On the issue of what has happened in our coalfield communities, to see


new jobs and new investment come, we have made sure that there is not


only a minimum wage, but now a national Living Wage. Yes, he talks


about one colliery. I recently visited the site of the Grimethorpe


colliery, there is a business there, Asos, employing 5000 people. We are


never going to succeed as a country if we try to hold onto jobs in


industries that have become uncompetitive. We have to hold onto


jobs of the future. The problem is, if you are on a zero hours


contracts, the minimum wage does not add up to a living wage. He must


understand that. Can I take him to the Lindsey oil refinery? In 2009,


hundreds of oil workers worked out on strike because agency workers


from Italy and Portugal were brought in on lower wages to do the same


job. Just down the road in Boston, low pay is endemic. The average


hourly wage across the whole country is ?13.33. An East Midlands, ?12. In


Boston, it is ?9. Isn't it time the government intervened to step up for


those communities that feel they have been left behind in modern


Britain? We have intervened with a national Living Wage, we have


intervened with more fines against companies that don't pay the minimum


wage. We have intervened, for the first time, something that Labour


never did, naming and shaming companies involved. Those


interventions help and can make a difference. The real intervention


that you need is an economy that is growing and encouraging investment.


What we want are the industry the future. Record numbers are aware,


and the British economy has been one of the strongest in the G7. Mr


Speaker, this Government promised it would rebalance our economy. It


promised a Northern Powerhouse. Yet half of 1% of infrastructure


investment is going to the north-east. London is getting 44


times more than that. Does he not think it is time to have a real


rebalancing of our economy and invest in those areas that are


losing out so badly? I think he is talking down the performance of


parts of our economy that are doing well. If you look at the


fastest-growing part of our economy, it has been the north-west, not the


south-east. If you want to see where exports are growing faster, it is


the north-east and not London. There is a huge amount of work to do to


make sure we feel that North-South divide. For the first time, we have


a Government with a proper strategy, investing in infrastructure,


training and skills that will make a difference. For years, regional


policy was just trying to distribute a few government jobs outside


London. Now we have a strategy about skills, training and about growth


and delivery. The idea of this redistribution is a very


interesting. The investment in London is more than the total of


every other English region combined. Does he not think these issues


should be addressed? In March, the government investment was cut in


order to meet its fiscal rules. How does the Prime Minister think the


economy can be rebalanced when investment is cut and what little


investment remains reinforces the regional imbalances in this country?


Well, first of all, again, he is talking down the North in the


questions he asks. The unemployment rate in the north-west is lower than


the unemployment rate London. I think, actually, his figures are


wrong. In terms of investment, yes, of course, we need to have the


Government investment. We got it in HS2, in the railways, the biggest


investment programme since Victorian times, the biggest investment in our


roads since the 1970s. You can only invest if you have a strong and


growing economy. We know what Labour's recipe is, more borrowing,


more spending, more debt, trashing the economy, which is what they did


when in office and that is when investment collapses. The Chancellor


finally did this week what the Shadow Chancellor asked him to do in


the Autumn Statement and what I asked the Prime Minister to do last


week, abandoned a key part of the fiscal rule. We now know the deficit


was supposed to vanish by 2015, and it will not even be gone by 2020.


Isn't it time to admit that austerity is a failure and the way


forward is to invest in infrastructure, invest in growth and


invest in jobs? What he says is not the case. The rules we set out


always have flexibility in case growth didn't turn out the way...


Well, the point I would make to him, I would take his advice more


seriously if I could think of a single spending reduction that he


had supported at any time in the last six years. The fact is, this


Government and the last one, the Coalition Government, had to take


difficult decisions to get our deficit under control. It's gone


from 11% of GDP that we inherited, the biggest in the entire world,


almost, to under 3% this year, because of difficult decisions. If


he can tell me one of those decisions he has supported, I would


be interested to hear it. Mr Speaker, concerns about the fiscal


rule investment are obviously spreading on his own ventures. The


Work and Pensions Secretary and Business Secretary have seen the


light. They agree with my honourable friend the Shadow Chancellor in


backing the massive investment programme we have been advocating.


Isn't it time that he thanked the honourable member for Hayes and


Harlington for the education where he has been doing in this house?


Will he confirm that the Chancellor's fiscal rule is dead and


invest in the north-east, in Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, all of


those places that feel, with good reason, that they have been left


behind and the investment is going to the wrong places, and they are


ending up with few jobs on lower wages, and insecure employment to


boot? If the investment was going in the wrong places, we would not see


2.5 million more people in work and we would not see a fall in


unemployment, and a rise in employment in every single region in


our country. The only area where I think the Right Honourable Gentleman


has made a massive contribution is in recent weeks he has come up with


the biggest job creation scheme I'd ever seen in my life, almost


everyone on the benches behind him has had an opportunity to serve on


the front bench! Rather like the old job creation schemes, it has been a


bit of a revolving door. They get a job, sometimes for only a few hours,


and then they go back to the backbenches. But it is a job


creation scheme, nonetheless, and we should thank him for that!


On a day when significant questions have been levelled at the collective


decision-making of politicians, military leaders and intelligence


services, many of our constituents will be seeking reassurance that the


lives of their loved ones were not given in vain. That the mistakes


made will never happen again. Can I ask the Prime Minister, will he


ensure that the lessons learned will be fully examined and acted upon, so


that there can never be a repeat of the tragic mistakes made over a


decade ago? Well, I am grateful to my honourable friend for his


question. I can certainly give that assurance. We will have plenty of


time this afternoon to discuss the Chilcot Report and Sir John Chilcot


is on his feet at the moment, explaining what he has found. I


think the most important thing we can do is to really learn the


lessons for the future. The lessons that he lays out, quite clearly. We


will want to spend a lot of time, I'm sure, talking about the


decisions on going to war and the rest of it. The most important thing


for all of us is to make sure we find out how to make sure government


works better, legal advice is considered better, those things are


the best legacy we can sit from this whole thing. Angus Robertson. Today


is hugely important for Muslims at home and abroad at the end of


Ramadan. I am sure we wish them all Eid Mubarak. Our thoughts today are


with those who have died in Iraq, and the families of those in Iraq


who have lost loved ones. The Chilcot Report confirms that in


2002, Tony Blair wrote to President Bush, saying, I will be with you


whatever. Does the Prime Minister understand why the families of the


dead and the injured a UK service personnel, the hundreds of thousands


of Iraqis, feel they were deceived about the reasons for going to war


in Iraq? First of all, let me join the Right Honourable Gentleman in


wishing Muslims in this country and all over the world Eid Mubarak at


the end of Ramadan. In terms of the report, we will discuss it in detail


later, and I don't want to pre-empt all of the things I will say in my


statement. Clearly, we need to learn the lessons of the report, we need


to study it carefully. It is millions of words, thousands of


pages. I think we should save our remarks for when we debated in the


house after the statement. The Chilcot Report catalogues the


failures in planning for post-conflict Iraq and then


concludes that, and I quote, the UK did not achieve its objectives. That


lack of planning has also been evident in relation to Afghanistan,


Libya, Syria and, most recently, with no plan whatsoever, for Brexit.


When will the UK Government actually start learning from the mistakes of


the past, so we are not condemned to repeat them in future? First of all,


he is right that what Sir John Chilcot says about the failure to


plan is very, very clear. I can read from his statement, that is


something he has given. He says when the invasion began, UK policy rested


on an assumption that there would be a well executed, US lead and UN


authorised operation in a relatively benign environment. He told the


inquiry that the difficulties have been known in advance, Mr Blair.


What I would say to the Right Honourable Gentleman in terms of


planning is what I put in place, following what happened in Iraq, a


National Security Council, a properly staffed and national


Security Secretariat, all of those things, including listening to


expert advice on a National Security Council, all of those things are


designed to avoid the problems that the government have in the case of


Iraq. The only point I would make is that, actually, there is no set of


arrangements and plans that can provide perfection in any of these


cases. Military intervention, we can argue whether it is ever justified,


I believe it is. Military intervention is always difficult.


Planning for the aftermath, that is always difficult. I don't think in


this house we should be naive in any way that there is a perfect set of


plans or a perfect set of arrangements that can solve these


problems in perpetuity. There aren't. Would my right honourable


friend join me in congratulating Southend Council, once again under


the control of the Conservative Party, for swiftly acting to sort


out the mess left by the previous, hopeless administration? And would


he agree with me that Southend-on-Sea, being the


alternative City of Culture next year, will produce a considerable


boost to the local economy? Let me pay tribute to my honourable friend


for his long-standing efforts to promote Southend and all it has to


offer. While Hull is the official City of Culture next year, I am sure


that Southend will benefit from the tireless campaign he has run. I join


him in encouraging people to go and see this excellent seaside town for


themselves. Is the Prime Minister aware that two


miles north of Shire Brooke, already mentioned today, is a town called


Bolsover and at the same time they were seeing the notices on the bus


saying ?350 million for the NHS. At that time, they decided this


government, with the help of the local people, to close the hospital


Bolsover. We need the beds. I'm sure he understands that. When the


hospital is closed, it is gone forever. I want him here to date to


use a little bit of that money, not very much, to save the Bolsover


hospital, save the beds, save the jobs and the press might have a


headline saying, "The Prime Minister, dodgy Dave, assists the


beast to save the Bolsover hospital". What a sensation! I will


look very carefully. I don't have the information about the exact


situation at the Bolsover hospital. I'll look at it very carefully and


write to him. What I would say is that we are putting ?90 billion


extra into the NHS in this Parliament. As for what was on the


side buses and all the rest of it, my argument has always been, and


will always be, but it is a strong economy you required to fund the


NHS. -- ?19 billion. Last week I held my first apprenticeship is fair


in my constituency. Does my right honourable friend agree with me that


apprenticeships are an absolutely vital part of economic develop and


in our proud northern towns and cities? She is absolutely right and


that's why we've set the target for 3 million apprentices in this


Parliament. I think it is achievable, just as we achieved the


2 million apprentices trained in the last Parliament, and I wish her well


with what I hope is the first of many apprenticeship fares in her


constituency. Mr Speaker, before I ask my question, can I thank the


Prime Minister for the support he gave my campaign about getting an


inquiry into a certain drug which is given to pregnant women, resulting


in thousands of babies being born with deformities. I thank him for


supporting the campaign. Our universities, the global success


stories, outward looking, open for business with the world, and


attracting the brightest and the best students and researchers to


reduce ground-breaking research on cancer to climate change. In the


last year, the... I need a single sentence question. Forgive me but


there are a lot of other colleagues who want to take part. The


University has received ?836 million last year. What assurances can the


Prime Minister give us that in light of the fact that we are now out of


the EU, that money will be saved? First of all, let me thank the


honourable lady for her thanks because she has raised this case


many times and I can tell the Medicines and health care Products


Regulatory Agency has been gathering evidence for a review by expert


working groups on medicines and they have met on three occasions so I


think we're making progress. The point she makes about universities -


until Britain leads the EU we get the full amount of funding under the


programmes as you would expect. All contracts under that have to be


fulfilled, but it will be for a future government, as it negotiates


the exit from the EU, to make sure that we domestic league continue to


fund our universities in a way that makes sure they continue to lead the


world. As my right honourable friend will know, the potential closure of


the BHS store in Torquay town centre with the loss of over 100 jobs as


again raised the need for urgent regeneration of town centres. Would


he outline what support will be made available by the government to


ensure plans can be taken forward? It is worth making the point that it


is a very sad moment for those BHS staff who have worked so long for


that business. For them, it was simply a high-street brand, it was a


job, it was a way of life, it was a means of preparing for their


retirement and their pensions and we must do all we can to help them and


find them new work and there are many vacancies in the retail sector,


and we must make sure we help them to get those jobs. What we've done


in terms of high street is around ?18 million has gone to towns


through them of initiatives and we should keep those up because keeping


our town centres vibrant is so vital that this sits alongside the biggest


ever cut in interest rates in England, worth some ?6.7 billion in


the next five years and I think we need to say to those on our high


streets to make the most of that business rate cut. One of my


constituents who I've been working with for some time has had her


mobility cart removed after falling victim to a flawed assessment by


Atos. Atos have admitted their error and yet my vulnerable constituent


still remains housebound and without a car. Will the Prime Minister of


his full assistance to rectify this cruel situation and will he look


again at the regulations which allowed this situation to come


about? Let me congratulate the taking of this constituency case.


Many of us have done exactly the same thing with constituents who


have had assessment that haven't turned out to be accurate. If she


gives me the details, I'll look at the specific case and see what can


be done. A report recently commissioned by transport for the


North, a body created by this government, highlights the


opportunity to uphold the growing divide between the north and South


and creates several new jobs and billions of pounds of growth by


2015. -- 2050. Does he agree that to build an elegant and prosperity we


need to continue to rebalance infrastructure spending from London


to the regions, particularly to the north of England? I think he is


absolutely right. What that report shows is if we don't take the


necessary actions, you are going to see a continued north-south divide


and that's why we are committed, for instance, to seeing increased


spending on transport infrastructure go up to ?61 billion of this


Parliament and in my right honourable friend's area, we're


spending ?380 million upgrading the A1 from Leeming to Barton, which


will be a big boost for the local economy. I recently met a


constituent whose husband, a British citizen, has been an Ethiopian's


death row for two years and was kidnapped while travelling in and


illegally rendered Ethiopian. You are sentenced to death six years ago


as a trial he was neither present that nor able to present any defence


in direct contravention of international law. Given it has been


accessed two legal wrappers and Titian, and has not spoken to his


family, there are reports he's suicidal. In your last few weeks in


office, will you make the case for him to be allowed him to be


re-elected with his wife and children? We are taking a very close


interest in this case. The Foreign Secretary was an Ethiopian recently,


our consul has been able to meet with the man in question on a number


of occasions and we are working with him and the Ethiopian woman to try


to get this resolved. One of the reports that won't get so much


attention is the CQC report into North Middlesex Hospital, which


confirms that emergency care is inadequate. Why has it taken so many


years, and why does it need the regulators to know what many of my


constituents will know, that there has been another quick effort to


long, too few doctors, to view consultants? And the Primus assure


me that we now have in place the right plans on the right number of


doctors and consultants to ensure my constituents get the care they


deserve? I think he raises an important point, which is that I do


think the CQC is now acting effectively at getting into


hospitals, finding bad practice, reported on its 50. In some cases


that bad practice has always been there but we haven't been as


effective in some cases as we should be at shining eyed and. What we have


seen in North Middlesex is one of the busiest emergency department of


the country, the practice was an acceptable. We've now got a new


clinical director of the trust, additional two doctors in A and we


have been the ones that have set up the role of the Chief Inspector of


hospitals to have a zero tolerance approach to practice like this and


make sure things are but right. The Secretary of State for Business,


Innovation and Skills has stated he wants the UK to borrow tens of


billions of pounds to create a green Britain fund worth up to 100


billion. Can I ask the PM whether this is a formal plan or whether


this is merely an attempt to come up with a plan amid a vacuum of


government? We are spending billions of pounds on the British economy and


an investment and that has clear consequences under the Barnett


formula for Scotland but clearly my colleagues during a leadership


election, and at least the side of the House we're actually having a


leadership election, rather than the never-ending... I thought you wanted


one. You don't want one? Hands up who wants a leadership election! Oh,


they don't want a leadership election! I'm so confused. One


minute it is like the Eagle is going to sweep and the next minute it is


Eddie the camera crew eagle at the top of the ski jump, not knowing


whether to go or not. Anyway, in case you hadn't noticed, we're


having a leadership election. Right from the start this United Kingdom


has been an outward looking, international trading nation. I'm


very glad to see the Trade Minister... The honourable gentleman


the Member for Worcester is entitled to be heard and his constituents are


entitled to be represented. And glad to see the Trade Minister out in


Hong Kong today talking up the prospects for investment in the


British economy but what steps can the Prime Minister take to bolster


the resources available to UKTI and the Foreign Office to make sure we


attract as much trade and investment from the wider world is possible? P


Maytin important point and a very clear instruction has gone out to


all our embassies around the world, to UKTI, that we should be doing all


we can to engage as hard as we can with other parts of the world start


to think about those trade deals, those investment deals and the


inward investment we want to see in the UK. Business is very clear to us


as well, whether they agree or disagree with the decision the


country is made, they know we've got to go on and make the most of the


opportunities we have. With the real prospect of a recession on the


horizon, the offer from the Chancellor is cutting corporation


tax, yet companies worry whether they will make a profit in the UK,


not how much tax they are going to pay on it, so can the Prime Minister


tell us what immediate action his government would take to protect


people's jobs and livelihoods right now? Immediate action has been


taken, not least the Bank of England decision to encourage bank lending


by changing the reserve asset ratios that they insist on and I think


that's very important because that's a short-term measure that can have


some early effect. Clearly what the Chancellor was talking about is now


we are in this new situation, we need to make sure that we configure


all our policies to take advantage of the situation that we're going to


be in and that's going to mean changes to taxes, changes to the way


UKTI works, there's going to be a change in focus for the Foreign


Office and the business department. All these things we can make a start


on irrespective of the fact that she and I were on the same side of the


referendum campaign. Further to my honourable friend from Worcester's


question about UKTI, may I remind the Prime Minister that next Monday


the greatest airshow in the world takes place at Farnborough in my


constituency, to which all honourable and right honourable


members are expected to attend! And may I remind my honourable friend


that last time, two years ago, deals worth $201 billion were signed at


the Farnborough airshow and may I prevail upon my right honourable


friend, who may have some time on his hands, to come and open the show


on Monday and encourage all other ministers to attend? I think I'm one


of the first prime ministers in a while to attend the Farnborough


airshow and I'm very happy to announce that I will be going back


there this year because I think it's very important. We have the second


largest aerospace industry in the world after the United States, and


it is a brilliant moment to showcase that industry to the rest of the


world and to clinch some important export deals, both in the military


and in the civilian space and I will always do everything I can, whether


in this job or in future, to help support British industry in that


way. The UN committee on economic social and cultural rights have


recently joined the UN committee on the rights of a child in expressing


serious concerns about this Tory government's brutal welfare cuts.


How much more international condemnation would it take for this


Prime Minister to scrap his aggressive to child policy and his


rate" we've seen under this government many more people in work,


many more households... Many fewer households where no one works and


many fewer households where there are children when one works. All of


this has been a huge success but she and her party now have the


opportunity, now we've made some huge devolution proposals, including


in the area of welfare, if you don't feel that what we're doing on a UK


bases... I don't know why you're all shouting. You're getting these


powers. Instead of whingeing endlessly, start to use them! Sir


John Chilcot finds that the only people who come out of the 2003


invasion of Iraq well our servicemen and civilians. Will the Prime


Minister look at how he can make sure that the precedent he set last


autumn for transparency and scrutiny ahead of military action becomes the


norm for his successor? I think we have now got a set of arrangements


and also a set of conventions that put the country in a stronger


position. I think it is now a clear convention that we have a vote in


this House, which we did on Iran, before military action, but it is


also important that we have a properly constituted National


Security Council, proper receipt of legal advice, a summary of that


legal advice provided to the House of Commons, as we did both in the


case of Libya and Iraq, and I think these things are growing up to be a


set of conventions that will work for our country, but let me repeat


again, even the best rules and conventions of the world doesn't


mean that you always going to be confronted by easy decisions or ones


that don't have very difficult consequences. The Prime Minister


will no doubt be aware of my constituent Pauline Cafferkey, a


nurse who contracted Ebola in Sierra Leone in 2014, and was there as part


of the DFID response to the outbreak. She and around 200 the NHS


volunteers have not received an equivalent bonus of ?4000 that was


awarded to 250 Public Health England staff. Wilbur Prime Minister agreed


to meet with me to discuss how DFID can rectify this situation. -- will


the Prime Minister agree. Roll Pauline Cafferkey is one of the


bravest people I've ever met and it was a great privilege to have come


to Number Ten Downing St and I'm proud of the fact that she and many


others, I believe, have received the medal for in Sierra Leone. It is


something Britain should be incredibly proud of. We partnered


with that country to deal with Ebola and it is now free of Ebola to talk


I will look specifically into the issue of the bonus. I wasn't aware


of that and I will get back to her about it.


That is very much a warm up act today, because they are moving onto


statements on the Chilcot Report, published this morning. The Prime


Minister will make the opening remarks, followed by the Leader of


the Opposition. There will be particular interest in what Jeremy


Corbyn has to say. Jeremy Corbyn was strongly opposed to the action in


Iraq. He will therefore speak as a labour leader who was not


complicated in these decisions. We are going to keep across both of


these speeches and we will bring you highlights of them, if we can,


before one o'clock. Meanwhile, we return to Chilcot. Laura, are we any


clearer what the political fallout will be? I think it will become


clear today, in the coming weeks and months. As we were saying before,


the strange thing about this is that the people that are criticising it


are not really around any more. -- criticised in it. Jeremy Corbyn's


response is likely to be strident. There is an expectation he might


even call for Tony Blair to face legal action in his role in this. It


is not clear he will do this. He will not just respond in the


Commons, he will also make a big speech later on this afternoon. It


has been a key part of his principal for many years. He was one of the


foremost opponents of the war in Iraq. If he goes that far, it will


be something that further heaps pressure on the Labour Party. Many


MPs, many people like Charlie, sitting here, were very involved in


the decision and supported the war in Iraq. Overall, as we were


beginning to catch on, this is a document that shows that in future


no government will be able to go into anything like this without


feeling that there will be held to account, without feeling that their


internal conversations, their private memos, all of their


deliberations will, at one point in the future, be made public. There


may also be consequences for our relationship with the United States.


This document shows clearly that Tony Blair basically chose the


United States rather than the United Nations, although he did try very


hard to get the UN on board. We have had more than 20 private notes


between Tony Blair and George Bush published today. Huge controversy


about whether that should have happened or not. Now it has, it is a


very serious precedent that has been set. Indeed, it will have lots of


applications for future foreign policy. Let's go to the Central


Lobby, Tony Blair's special envoy of the time, Ann Clwyd, joins us. For


those that favoured the war, it is not happy reading is it? I have not


had a chance to read it, unlike journalists who had it since 8:30am,


we had to depend on Chilcot making his statement. I have not read it,


but I know what some of the main points are. The main points were


that the intelligence was unreliable, that we went to war on a


wrong basis, it was premature because options have not been


exhausted, and that the aftermath of the invasion was largely a disaster.


That, we do know is in the Chilcot Report? We also know there were 17


UN resolutions which Saddam Hussein had not complied with. He had used


chemical weapons against the Kurds, and also against the Shia in the


south. He had the capability and he had used them in the past. I went to


Iraq in 2003, February 2003, I was with the Kurds. The Kurds were


frightened that chemical weapons were going to be used again against


them. They were already fleeing the city 's of northern Iraq. So, there


was very real fear amongst them that Saddam would use those again. I was


taken to the border with Iraq, the Kurdish Iraq border, and I was shown


rocket placements in the hills where the Kurds told me they were going to


be used against them. So they have their intelligence as well. Of


course, but the Kurds were anxious for their own reasons, for us to


intervene. That's what they wanted us to do. In the end, they couldn't


have been in danger, it turned out he didn't have any chemical weapons


to use against them any more. We went on to war on the basis that he


did? Andrew, not only had he used weapons against the Kurds, he killed


about 500,000 Shia in the south, mass graves, 10,000 people were


buried there. I have been to the marshes, and he tried to eliminate


the Arabs there. How many have been killed since we invaded? Well, we


don't know. Hundreds of thousands, of course? But Saddam killed about a


million of his own people. Do you think there is nothing in this


report, from what you know so far, that gives you cause to reconsider


your position at the time? Of course, but not the position at the


time. On the basis of what we were told, Tony Blair was justified in


taking the action he did. He thought he was doing the best thing for this


country and also helping the Iraqis. The aftermath, the lack of planning,


that is a serious criticism. I saw it myself, I went to Iraq about 23


times. Indeed, I spoke to you about it afterwards. Can I ask you this


about the aftermath and lack of planning, given that we and the


Americans invaded, not because we thought Saddam was about to attack


us, that was not on the cards, but because we thought he might be a


danger and we wanted to make a better society in Iraq, why was


there no planning for the aftermath? Why did we not have a plan to


rebuild that society? After all, we have massive plans to rebuild


Germany after the Second World War. It started in 1942, less than a mile


from where I am. The Americans have massive plans to rebuild Japan after


1945. Given the nature of our intervention, why did we not have


plans to rebuild Iraq? Well, there were some plans. , Some? There were


not sufficient. Some were to help civil society get back on its feet.


I was involved in some of that planning. Also, we trained people in


forensics, to help uncover the mass graves. We helped the legal system.


They had to try some of the people involved in war crimes, crimes


against humanity and genocide, we have plans for that. We trained


people. It was wholly inadequate, wasn't it? I agree with you. We were


the junior partner in the whole thing. The Americans also have to be


criticised. Of course. But why did Mr Blair... We can find no evidence


that Mr Blair, having voluntarily joined in this event, had made any


attempt at all to ensure the Americans have a proper plan, that


we would be part of, to rebuild Iraq after the invasion. Well, I think


there was planning. You know, there was quite detailed planning, but not


enough, certainly, with hindsight, clearly not enough. It is not fair


to say there was no planning, there was, and we attempted to rebuild


Iraq. We retrained civil society, for example. I saw it first hand. I


think we can both agree it was not a huge success and still hasn't been.


Ann Clwyd, we will leave it there. What did happen is that the State


Department had substantial plans. There was even an area in Washington


called Iraq Shack. President Bush took responsibility out of the state


department's hands and go to the Pentagon, who never had


responsibility for building a society after a war, it was an


unprecedented change because he didn't trust the State Department,


but he trusted Donald Rumsfeld on the Pentagon. A huge error? He


installed his own people. Paul Bremer went in as governor of that


province. Despite Ann Clwyd trying to defend the planning efforts that


went in before, it is clear when you read the report, quite astonishing,


there is evidence in there that suggests that the Cabinet did not


discuss military options, on the 17th of March, less than a week


before the invasion, there have not been a full discussion of military


options. Chilcot lists 11 specific, significant points when decisions


were taken that were not, and in his view should have been taken and


discussed properly other Cabinet, they were taken elsewhere and there


were lots of private side conversations. Sometimes it was just


between Tony Blair and Jack Straw, sometimes between Tony Blair and


George Bush. One of the themes is that Cabinet ministers at the time


were not included in the decision-making. Is that right? I


was not in the Cabinet at the time. I have not read the report, Laura


has read the executive summary, the idea that during this period there


wasn't a great decision that had to be taken for the nation, and in


particular for the Government, is, I think, not an accurate impression.


Sure that have involved more people? That's the point. The Cabinet


discussed regularly. Laura will correct me if I am wrong, Sir John


Chilcot's criticism is that there is no formal minuted report beforehand.


This idea that it was a secret drumbeat to war is not accurate. But


it echoes Butler's report on talking about a sofa cabinet? Basically,


they are saying we did not know what he was up to. There was huge public


concern about what we were doing. The point Chilcot makes is that in


no way were any of the processes that we might expect from


politicians on a decision with this level of gravity, in no way where


they followed. You are right, it wasn't a secret that these issues


were being considered. Let me ask you a wider foreign policy point.


Can I just pick you up on that? There was a secret? That is how it


was done? Not only was it secret, there was deliberate deceit, I don't


think that Chilcot says that. People think there was a secret agreement


between Mr Bush and Mr Blair to proceed. Let me come to Julian


Lewis. When I was last in Washington, a White House aide said


to me wintergreen din Iraq and occupied Iraq, disaster. We


intervened in Libya, but we did not occupy Libya, disaster. We have


neither intervened or occupied Syria, disaster. What is the foreign


policy of location? The answer to all of this is sometimes there are


no good outcomes to be had. Where your parallel with planning after


the defeat of Germany and Japan breaks down, with respect, is that


Germany and Japan had to undergo the process of unconditional surrender.


While I indicated earlier in the conversation, what happens in these


countries is that if you remove the dictatorship, then the thousand year


old hatreds between the Sunni kiss, Shias, it comes flooding out front


and centre. With intervening or not intervening, leaving dictators in


place, they ruled brutally, if you remove them, you get civil war, at a


parallel, imagine this country 700 or 800 years ago, were the sort of


people running the country would not hesitate to burn heretics at the


stake because they had a different interpretation of what Almighty God


was telling them should happen in this country. If you want to get


into that mindset and say what would happen, if you tried to impose a


democratic model, you get an idea of what happens in these countries when


you do the same thing. But did we know that in 2003? I don't know, is


the answer. I was in opposition and I would have thought we did. Wait a


minute, we knew because we created Iraq. We put Shia and Sunni


together. And Kurds! We created this artificial state.


And we're talking about events which happened decades earlier and the


institutional memory of the Foreign Office should be able to cope with


that and, what's more, they did because in the first Gulf War, that


was probably the reason that they decided, having thrown out Saddam


Hussein from Kuwait, and no one has once mentioned that all this really


started with Saddam's invasion of Kuwait. Of it have been further,


there would have been no question of trying to depose him later. Briefly,


one of the most important thing is that we haven't mentioned that also


comes across in the report, is how 9/11 changed this, changed the


political culture in the US, changed the political culture here and one


of the most interesting documents but has come out this morning is a


document that was sent by Tony Blair to George Bush on the war against


terror, phase two, in which they discussed Afghanistan and he lays


out what he calls an argument for Iraq in the longer term. I won't go


into the detail of it now but all of those documents are now out in


public for all of us to see, but 9/11 is what changed the dynamic of


so much of this and you can't forget that in terms of the climate that it


had created. Is intervention always wrong? I was generally in favour of


interventions if you thought you could get a better outcome but what


this has shown us is that you have to work on the basis that if the


outcome that follows is worse than the situation you start with, then


you shouldn't interfere with it. And we were fooled over Libya. Did you


support Libya? I voted very reluctantly for a no-fly zone to


protect the citizens of Benghazi. We were misled over that. The moment we


voted for it they had an all-out aerial offensive to destroy Gadhafi.


I would never have voted for that. How did you fall for a no-fly zone


to protect Benghazi one Gadhafi had said he was going to go door-to-door


on the ground? Why would a no-fly zone protect the people of Benghazi?


Because the idea would have been that the aerial forces would have


been used to interfere with any attack... So it's not a no-fly zone.


All I can say is, this is the basis on which we were told in parliament


we were doing something to protect the citizens of Benghazi. We were


not told that it was an attempt to bring down Gadhafi. If we had been,


I would have voted against it and that's why I did vote against the


proposal to do the same in Syria. David Cameron is still speaking. Not


saying anything out of the ordinary yet but he is still going on and


there will hear from Mr Cobb and. Laura, a final thought? This report


is clear, polite but damning in its conclusions. The intelligence


failed, the government failed, the military failed, the planning failed


and I think therefore it will be very hard for people to put the Iraq


war down to anything but one of the biggest foreign policy mistakes in


recent decades. Tony Blair will be speaking about it this afternoon and


there are very, very serious questions for him to answer. It's a


busy day for you. Thanks for being with us.


We are joined by the Labour MP and now Shadow Leader of the House


of Commons Paul Flynn, who voted against military


Many people have long held the view that Tony Blair went to war on false


premise because there no weapons of mass destruction but there's nothing


in the Chilcot Report so far, and we haven't seen all of it, that says


that that decision was made with any deliberate deceit or intention. To


you accept that? They had evidence that it was in this document, which


is a 15 page report about Mr Husain cabal which they used... Blair used


it to say, this is evidence that they have weapons of mass to


structure, but the latter part of the same document, which he didn't


quote, said they'd already got rid of them eight years earlier. So


there was definite deception by Tony Blair and the evidence was as it


says, it was slight and sporadic but I'm afraid this is an utter


condemnation of that terrible decision to go to war, which


resulted in the immediate deaths, the injuries to our troops, the


150,000 Iraqis at least, and the chaos that continues in Iraq. What


do you think, if anything, action should be taken against Tony Blair?


I think today there should be serious consideration to him being


prosecuted for this but I think this remains to be seen. Where would he


be prosecuted? That remains to be seen. Most of us have just seen the


summary of the report. The important issue is not one individual.


Parliament is 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, and it's those 139 Labour people at the time, MPs, who voted


against, a three line whip on this, and the minor parties who opposed


this, and the 1 million people that walk the streets. It wasn't clear


there should be a case for war to talk there was more opposition to it


in 2003 than almost any war we've ever had. This was a terrible


decision. I'm going to put that to Charlie Falconer in just a minute


but when you say you think there was a case for prosecution, the


International Criminal Court will not put Tony Blair on trial for war


crimes because decisions on launching a conflict are outside its


dream it. The tribunal will only look at things on atrocities that


took place on the battlefield. So I ask again, prosecution isn't really


something that's going to happen, is it? Can we say, this is not about


one man, this is about the system. You said you thought there should be


prosecution. But that is a minor matter. The important thing is we


never do this again. You've got a gung ho group in the Parliament,


called the Give War Chance Party, who want to shoot first and think


later. They are still at it in this House. It wasn't just Tony Blair, it


was three select committees that were gung ho for war, it was the


Leader of the Opposition. Let me put that our guests. Are you in the Give


War A Chance Party? Absolutely not, and I think the decision to use


force in any circumstances has to be one made only after the most


profound... The Chilcot Inquiry makes it clear that those weren't


exhaustive, that actually it wasn't in the end of the last resort. Like


Paul, I haven't read the report yet. I'm not disputing that it says that


but what... That was put to me earlier in the programme and my


response that was that a decision had to be made in March 2003 with


the troops down there as to what was the way to enforce the regime. But


what about this gung ho way but Paul Flynn is describing people like you


on select committees who actually just want, in a way, to look at war


first? That's as interesting generalisation. The truth is there


are people like me who strongly supported and veg and sometimes and


strongly opposed it on other occasions. You must judge each in


its own context and it's worth remembering... I went to the Hutton


in Greek, which looks at the death of Dr David Kelly, and there was a


quote there from doctor Kelly himself, which very briefly said,


"It is very easy to hide weapons of mass to structure and, you silly did


a whole of the desert, put them inside, cover them with a tarpaulin,


and they would be almost impossible to discover". It is very easy now to


say that after the invasion there was nothing there. We couldn't know


it at the time. Paul Flynn, thank you very much for joining us.


The Prime Minister has been giving his response to the Chilcot Report.


Is also been talking about when intervention is justified and when


it is not and circumstances can very. Let's hear what he had to say.


There will be further lessons to learn from studying this report and


I commit today David Batty is exactly what we will do but in


reflecting on this report and my own experience, there are also some


lessons here that I do not think we should draw. First, it would be


wrong to conclude that we shouldn't stand with our American allies when


our common security interests are threatened. We must never be afraid


to speak frankly and honesty as best friends always should, and where we


commit our trips together there must be a structure through which our


views can be proper league conveyed and differences worked through. But


it remains the case that Britain and America share the same fundamental


values and Britain has no greater friend or ally in the world than


America and our partnership remains as important that our security and


prosperity as it has ever been. Second, I think it would be wrong to


conclude that we cannot rely on the judgments of our brilliant and


hard-working intelligence agencies. We know the debt we owe them in


helping to keep us safe of the year. Since November 2014, they've enabled


us to foil seven different planned terrorist attacks on the streets of


the UK. What this report shows is there needs to be a proper


separation between the assessing intelligence and the policy-making


that flows from it and as a result of the reforms of the Butler report,


that is what we now have in place. That is the Prime Minister


responding. Jeremy Corbyn is now responding and we are going to give


you a clip of that in a moment. He has said that the war has long been


regarded as illegal but he is not expected, we understand, to call for


the prosecution of Mr Blair. There is and, perhaps, enough ammunition


to do that. From what Laura was saying, it is not making a


conclusion one way or the other as to whether it is illegal, as I


understand what is Laura is saying. It is saying the process was not


right but they are not saying that the conclusion that it was a legal


war is wrong. I understand they are expressing no view one way or the


other in relation to that. It is not a legal tribunal, it is looking at


the facts and the processes. The Suez, as we look back, was a


watershed in British foreign policy and Britain's position in the world,


indeed, because many concluded that we couldn't act on our own any more


without American support. Of course, the Falklands sort of disproves that


in a way, but is Iraq a watershed? Because we had Libya since and there


was... Our planes are active in the skies over Iraq and Syria. How would


you place it now? I think it is a watershed in terms of our


understanding of the limitations of what any intervention can do, in a


society which is still dominated by religious divides extending back for


hundreds and hundreds of years, and what really needs to worry us is


that these societies have a doctrine, extreme religious variance


of Islam, that has a worldwide appeal a bit like the communist or


international Marxist doctrines used to have and that's where we have to


constantly understand that if we leave things to develop, it can make


the situation worse but if we intervene, it can make the situation


worse as well. There are no easy answers and the best general


approach is one of containment. Home if you do, hung if you don't. This


illustrates both the difficulty and Laura's point, this will be the most


examined decision on foreign policy which will affect foreign policy


decisions of the future because of the lessons we learn and because


rightly we now know there will be an absolute spotlight, rightly so, in


the future did not We've only got a few minutes but let us hear what


Jeremy Corbyn has had to say before we go. The decision to invade and


occupy Iraq in March 2003 was the most significant foreign policy


decisions taken by a British Government in modern times. It


divided this House and set the government of the day against a


majority of the British people, as well as against the weight of global


opinion. The war was not in anyway, as Sir John Chilcot says, a last


resort. Frankly, it was an act of military aggression launched on a


false pretext, as the inquiry act sets, and has long been regarded as


illegal by the overwhelming weight of international legal opinion. It


led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people and the


displacement of millions of refugees. It devastated Iraq's


infrastructure and society. Mr Corbyn. Much more on the one o'clock


news coming up now on BBC One. Much more, of course, on the BBC News


Channel throughout the day, and in all our major newscasts this evening


and through into tomorrow. Thanks for joining us. We're finished for


the day. Bye-bye.


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