Tony Blair – “Contempt of Parliament” July 10th 2016

TonyBlair

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BBC News

Tony Blair could face Iraq contempt vote in Commons

July 10, 2016

A group of senior MPs is calling for a vote to decide whether Tony Blair is guilty of contempt of Parliament over his decision to invade Iraq in 2003. Conservative David Davis said he will present the motion on Thursday accusing the former PM of misleading Parliament. Meanwhile, John Prescott, the then deputy prime minister, said he now believed the invasion was “illegal”. Mr Blair has apologised for mistakes he made but has said he stands by his decision and “there were no lies”. In his long-awaited report on the Iraq invasion, Sir John Chilcot said the legal basis for the war was reached in a way that was “far from satisfactory”, but he did not explicitly say it was illegal. But Mr Davis, a former shadow home secretary, told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show: “I’m going to put down a contempt motion, a motion which says that Tony Blair has held the House in contempt.

“It’s a bit like contempt of court. Essentially by deceit.”

Referring to the 2003 vote to invade Iraq, he said: “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 has cross-party support with SNP MP Alex Salmond saying Mr Blair’s actions were “a parliamentary crime, and it’s time for Parliament to deliver the verdict”. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he agreed “Parliament must hold to account, including Tony Blair, those who took us into this particular war”. Asked if he would back the motion, he told the BBC: “I haven’t seen it yet, but I think I probably would.” Mr Davis said if his motion is accepted by Speaker John Bercow, it could be debated before Parliament breaks up for the summer on 21 July. He said if Mr Blair was found guilty it was unclear what actions would be taken but “the government could choose to strip him of his Privy Councillorship”.

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SOURCE = BBC News

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The Telegraph

Lord Prescott: ‘Tony Blair led the UK to war illegally’

July 9, 2016

Lord Prescott has accused Tony Blair of illegally leading the UK into the Iraq War. His comments condemning Mr Blair’s decision to take part in the Iraq War, a decision he supported at the time in his role as deputy prime minister, come just days after the publication of the long-awaited Iraq Inquiry report by Sir John Chilcot. Writing in his Sunday Mirror column, the peer said: “I will live with the decision of going to war and its catastrophic consequences for the rest of my life. “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.” Lord Prescott said the Chilcot report was a “damning indictment of how the Blair government handled the war – and I take my fair share of blame”.

The Chilcot report strongly criticised the way former prime minister Mr Blair took the country to war in 2003 on the basis of “flawed” intelligence with inadequate preparation at a time when Saddam Hussein did not pose an “imminent threat”. “As the deputy prime minister in that Government I must express my fullest apology, especially to the families of the 179 men and women who gave their lives in the Iraq War.” He also welcomed current Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s decision to apologise on behalf of the party for the war. Sir John also said the way the decision about the legal basis for the war was reached was “far from satisfactory”, but the report did not rule on the legality of the military action. Lord Prescott said he had concerns about the way Mr Blair ran his government, with Cabinet ministers given “too little paper documentation” to make decisions.

 

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SOURCE = Telegraph

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Daily Record

Tony Blair’s military and diplomatic disaster did not end in Iraq, says Gerry Hassan

July 10, 2016

WHEN has British politics ever been in such a state of flux? The Tories, UKIP and English and Welsh Greens in leadership contests; the Labour Party in a series of convulsions from top to bottom; Brexit; and now, 13 years after the UK went to war in Iraq, comes the publication of Chilcot. The Tories know how to utilise a crisis. It is one of the reasons they are one of the most successful electoral parties in the democratic world. Labour have never grasped the need in a crisis for decisive action – and seem to be stuck in the worst of all worlds. The Labour anti-Corbyn rebels have wounded the party leader but have failed to depose or force him to resign. Post-Brexit and in the week of Chilcot, the British political classes have never been more ill-thought of, yet the Tory show goes on as if nothing has changed.

“Take Back Control”, the slogan of the Leave campaign, turns out to mean little more than fewer than 150,000 aging members deciding who the next prime minister is – Theresa May or Andrea Leadsom. Britain, as we know it, is over. Even the Tories cannot ignore this for too long but the Westminster consensus have little to say – irrespective of party – about the multiple crises that affect the country. This is particularly damning of Corbyn’s Labour where, for all their supposed radicalism, they – along with the anti-Corbynistas – have no original suggestions about tackling the many malaises of modern Britain – economically, socially, democratically or constitutionally. Yes, the Corbyn leadership is against austerity but that is nothing more than a slogan. We’re constantly told that this is an age of change and uncertainty but it is also one of profound groupthink.

 

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SOURCE = Daily Record

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The Independent

Jeremy Corbyn backs motion declaring Tony Blair guilty of ‘contempt’ over Iraq War after Chilcot report

July 10, 2016

Jeremy Corbyn has backed a parliamentary motion declaring Tony Blair guilty of “contempt”, following the release of the Chilcot Report. The motion, set to be tabled by outspoken Conservative MP David Davis, alleges that the former prime minister deceived the House of Commons while making the case for Iraq. The Labour leader, who this week apogised on behalf of his party for the war despite being having long personally opposed it, said he would “probably” back the motion when asked. “I urge colleagues to read the Butler Report and the Chilcot Report about the way Parliament was denied the information it should have had, the way there was lack of preparations for the conflict’s aftermath, and the way in which assertions of weapons of mass destruction [were made],” he told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show. “Parliament must hold to account, including Tony Blair, those who took us into this particular war. That is surely how a parliamentary democracy works. I haven’t seen [the motion] yet, but I think I probably would [back it].”

The motion is likely to debated in the next few weeks if it is accepted by the Speaker. The landmark Chilcot Inquiry, which has been investigating the 2003 invasion since 2009, said last week that Mr Blair’s intelligence case for the attack on Iraq was “not justified”. Mr Corbyn’s backing comes after John Prescott, the deputy prime minister at the time of the invasion, said Mr Blair had led Parliament into backing an illegal war. Writing in the Sunday Mirror newspaper, Lord Prescott said that following evidence in the Chilcot Report he had come to the conclusion that the war was illegal. “I will live with the decision of going to war and its catastrophic consequences for the rest of my life,” he wrote.

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SOURCE = The Independent

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The Mail

Tony Blair faces being KICKED OUT of the privy council over Iraq war after Jeremy Corbyn backs cross-party ‘contempt’ vote in the House of Commons

July 10, 2016

Tony Blair faces the prospect of stripped of his privy council membership amid a cross-party bid to hold him in ‘contempt’ of parliament over the Iraq war. A motion being tabled by Tory David Davis accusing the former Prime Minister of deceiving MPs has been backed by Jeremy Corbyn and the SNP. If approved by Speaker John Bercow this week the issue could be put to a vote before the Commons goes on summer recess – potentially leading to Mr Blair being ejected from the prestigious circle of senior politician. Mr Davis said today that he had decided to put the motion forward after the Chilcot report delivered a devastating verdict on Mr Blair last week.

The Iraq inquiry lambasted the ex-Labour leader for twisting intelligence on the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, raised doubts about the way advice on the legality of the war was produced, and criticised his ‘sofa’ style of government. An emotional Mr Blair called a press conference within hours to express his sorrow over the failings and loss of life caused by the invasions. But he insisted he had taken the decision in good faith and still believed it had been the right move based on the evidence he had available. Mr Blair later argued that the military action had not been ‘in vain’ despite the loss of an estimated 150,000 Iraqi lives and hundreds more British soldiers. Lord Prescott, deputy PM when the invasion was launched, said today that he now believes it illegal and offered his ‘fullest apology’ to the families of the military personnel who died. Mr Davis told the Andrew Marr show Sir John Chilcot did not have a remit to decide whether Mr Blair had ‘lied or not’. But he said: ‘If you look just at the debate alone, on five different grounds the House was misled,’ he said. ‘Three in terms of the weapons of mass destruction, one in terms of the way the UN votes were going and one in terms of the threats… ‘Now, the point is he might have done one of those accidentally – but five? Five different deceptions on the House?’

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SOURCE = The Daily Mail

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guardian logo

Tony Blair could face contempt of parliament motion over Iraq war

July 10, 2016

Tony Blair could face a motion of contempt in the House of Commons over the 2003 invasion of Iraq – a motion that Jeremy Corbyn has said he would probably support. The Conservative MP David Davis, backed by the SNP’s Alex Salmond, has said he will present on Thursday the motion accusing the former prime minister of misleading parliament. MPs could debate the issue before the summer if it is accepted by the Commons Speaker, John Bercow. Sir John Chilcot said in his long-awaited report on the Iraq invasion that the legal basis for the war was reached in a way that was “far from satisfactory”, but he did not explicitly say the war was illegal. Davis told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday that the motion would say Blair held the house in contempt over the 2003 invasion. He said that if his motion was accepted by Bercow it could be debated before parliament’s summer recess. Davis said: “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?”  Salmond said he believed Corbyn’s support would mean the motion had enough cross-party support. “No parliament worth its salt tolerates being misled,” Scotland’s former first minister told ITV’s Peston on Sunday. He said Blair’s promise to George Bush that he would be “with you, whatever” meant Blair had been “saying one thing to George W Bush in private, and a totally different thing to parliament and people in public”. He said Blair’s actions were “a parliamentary crime, and it’s time for parliament to deliver the verdict”. The prospect of a contempt vote has opened a rift between Corbyn, the Labour leader, and Angela Eagle, the former shadow business secretary who is challenging him for the leadership. Asked about the potential vote, Corbyn told Marr he would probably back the motion. “Parliament must hold to account, including Tony Blair, those who took us into this particular war,” he said.

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SOURCE = The Guardian

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RTE News

Blair may face contempt motion over Iraq invasion

July 10, 2016

British MPs may vote on whether former prime minister Tony Blair is guilty of contempt in the House of Commons, following accusations he deceived MPs over the Iraq war. David Davis, a Tory former cabinet minister, said he will make a motion of contempt about Mr Blair in the Commons this week. It comes after John Prescott, the deputy prime minister at the time of the 2003 invasion, claimed the Iraq War was illegal. Mr Davis said if his motion is accepted by Speaker John Bercow, it could be debated before Parliament breaks up for the summer. The former shadow home secretary told the BBC’s Andrew Marr show: “I’m going to put down a contempt motion, a motion which says that Tony Blair has held the House in contempt.

“It’s a bit like contempt of court. Essentially by deceit.”

Referring to the 2003 vote to invade Iraq, he added: “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?” He said if the House agreed Mr Blair had held the House in contempt, MPs would have to persuade the authorities “to take the next step”. The long-awaited Chilcot report strongly criticised the way former prime minister Mr Blair took the country to war in 2003 on the basis of “flawed” intelligence with inadequate preparation at a time when Saddam Hussein did not pose an “imminent threat”. John Chilcot also said the way the decision about the legal basis for the war was reached was “far from satisfactory”, but the report did not rule on the legality of the military action.

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SOURCE = RTE News

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The Nation Pakistan

Iraq, Tony Blair and the Pandora’s box for Pakistan

July 10, 2016

23 March, 2003  was a terrifying, soul shattering night. When the airstrikes hit Baghdad, the destruction campaign against her was christened as “Shock and Awe” by George W. Bush, the then Republican President of USA. And America was not alone in bringing an ultimate doom to Iraq, Tony Blair, the then Prime Minister of Britain, facilitated and allied for this misadventure. In reaction to Tony Blair keeping the House in the dark about the impeding military action on the pretence of Saddam Hussein stocking Weapons of Mass Destruction–which later memos disclose were thoroughly discussed by the two leaders at Bush’s private ranch at Crawford, Texas  in 2002— people protested against the choice of military action when the peaceful options were available and unexhausted by the UN sanctioned weapons inspection team which had a worldwide acceptance. But based on weak, or even false intelligence reports of the presence of WMDs, US led UK to go in Iraq to topple the Iraqi Government of Saddam Hussein, a dictator envied by his people, which at first welcomed this action before the things started slipping away.

Earlier, the United Nations, and United States jointly sent about 1,625 inspectors to inspect 2,000 Iraqi sites for two years in Iraq. According to this report’s conclusion presented by the UN Inspector’s team, Saddam Hussein’s regime had destroyed all of its WMDs and its capability to produce them dwindled over the years, owing to the sanctions imposed on it following its invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and its debacle in Iran before. However, a year later of the war that was imposed based on the CIA Iraq’s Survey Group established in 2004 that there were no weapons of mass destruction present in Iraq; however, it maintained that Iraq had the intention of acquiring WMDs once the sanctions were lifted. This in itself was in serious contradiction to earlier intelligence reports that led the then US Secretary of State, Colin Powell to have complete confidence in declaring that Iraq indeed had weapons of mass destruction, hence the war to take place there was justified. Tony Blair also followed lead on M16 reports of the presence of weapons in Iraq. The reports were later declared wrong, and Tony Blair in his TV interview in 2015, admitted to this folly. This comes in stark contradiction to the basis established by the Bush administration of a “smoking gun”. This was never highlighted in the international arena with as much vigor as it deserved because of many stakes involved with the world’s two superpowers destroying Iraq—for it would have meant severed ties of the countries aligned with UK and US. And more sadly so, the public protests prior to Iraq invasion was never appropriately addressed in the House of Lords.

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SOURCE = The Nation

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Channel NewsAsia

Iraq war was illegal, says Blair’s former deputy

July 10, 2016

LONDON: Tony Blair’s deputy as prime minister when Britain joined the invasion of Iraq has said he believes the war was illegal, days after a long-awaited report excoriated Britain’s role in the conflict. John Prescott, number two in the Labour government when Britain took part in the US-led invasion in 2003, made the remarks in a piece to be published in the Sunday Mirror newspaper. On Wednesday, the Chilcot report returned a damning verdict on Britain’s role in the US-led war, finding it joined the conflict before all peaceful options had been exhausted and that judgements about Iraq’s capacities were “presented with a certainty that was not justified”.

It also disclosed Blair had written to then US president George W. Bush that “I will be with you, whatever” eight months before the invasion. Prescott, now a member of the House of Lords, wrote: “I will live with the decision of going to war and its catastrophic consequences for the rest of my life. “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.”

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SOURCE = Channel News Asia

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