South Yorkshire MP defends decision to back Iraq war

A South Yorkshire MP who voted in favour of the Iraq war has defended the decision in the wake of the damning Chilcot inquiry.

Wednesday, 6th July 2016, 3:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th July 2016, 4:47 pm
Caroline Flint

Don Valley MP Caroline Flint said: “This is the third enquiry since the Iraq war some 13 years ago.

“After a seven year investigation, and a 2.6 million word report, I hope there is now significant agreement on some key issues of debate, before and after the war.

“First, the intelligence of Saddam’s weapons and capability was faulty; the plan to reconstruct Iraq after the conflict was inadequate and, at times, the MOD left our troops badly resourced.

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“But the inquiry also found no bad faith by those who supported removing Saddam Hussein, no falsification or improper use of intelligence, no deception of the Cabinet and no prior secret commitment to war.

“The inquiry rejects the accusation that the Government’s Iraq dossier had been manipulated; and determined that the Prime Minister did not deliberately mislead Parliament. The assertion that the UK went to war on a lie is refuted by the Chilcot Inquiry.

“I supported the action in good faith, because I believed at the time that Saddam Hussein was a threat to his own people and to the region.

“Saddam was a war criminal responsible for the deaths of over a million people during his time, used chemical weapons on his own people, and invaded and threatened his neighbours.

“We all honour those who served our country and lost their lives or were injured helping to remove that tyranny or rebuild Iraq after.

“I believe many lessons have been learnt about what we must do before any intervention in another country. But we have also seen the cost of not doing so, not least in Syria in 2011 where the UK stood back and Assad killed and displaced many of his own people.”

Barnsley MP Dan Jarvis, who served in Iraq as a member of the Parachute Regiment, said lessons must be learnt from the Chilcot report.

He said: “The Chilcot Report will help us understand where things went wrong in relation to the decision making process that led to the Iraq War, and crucially, help us identify how we can prevent making similar mistakes again in the future.

“It is critical that the public have trust in the important decisions such as whether to take our country to war. We must acknowledge that trust was broken with the Iraq conflict. The publication of Chilcot demands that reforms happen now so that we never repeat that flawed process. Only by doing so will we rebuild trust and learn the lessons of Iraq.”