Jack Straw has said members of the public still shout "war criminal" at him when he gets on the Tube.
The former foreign secretary, who was in office when the Iraq invasion began in 2003, described feeling genuinely convinced that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction when he approved the deployment of troops into Iraq, a feeling he told The Telegraph he now believes to be wrong.
Explaining his regrets over his involvement in the Iraq invasion, he said: “I made the decision I made which was to support the war, and I have to take the responsibilities which flow from that.
"People will still shout at me on the Tube sometimes, with less frequency these days, and say I'm a war criminal. It’s much less pleasant for my family, particularly given the fact that my wife and both children opposed the war.”
Despite his family’s opposition to his decision, he said they have remained “incredibly loyal” over the past decade.
The Iraq War: A timeline
The Iraq War: A timeline
1/16 11 September 2001
Terrorists belonging to al-Qaeda use hijacked aeroplanes to kill 2,996 people in attacks on the east coast of the US.
2/16 12 September 2001
Tony Blair promises George W Bush that the UK will support the US, whatever the President decides to do.
3/16 25 March 2002
Jack Straw, Foreign Secretary, warns Blair that invading Iraq would be legally dubious.
4/16 June 2002
Tony Blair asks defence officials to outline options for UK participation in military action against Iraq.
5/16 24 September 2002
The government publishes a dossier about the threat from Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. A foreword by Tony Blair states that Saddam Hussein’s “military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them”. It is subsequently alleged that this dossier was “sexed up” for political reasons.
6/16 2 October 2002
Congress authorises President Bush to use military force against Iraq.
7/16 8 November 2002
UN Security Council passes resolution 1441, insisting that weapons inspectors be allowed back into Iraq and calling on the regime to give up its WMD or face the consequences.
8/16 18 July 2003
David Kelly, an expert in biological warfare, is found dead after being named as the source of quotations used by the BBC’s Andrew Gilligan to suggest that the dossier of September 2002 had been “sexed up”. Lord Hutton is appointed to chair a judicial inquiry into his death.
9/16 13 December 2003
Saddam Hussein is captured near Tikrit, after nine months in hiding.
10/16 2 March 2004
Bombings in Baghdad and Karbala kill nearly 200 people: the worst attacks since the fall of Saddam.
11/16 14 September 2005
Bombs in Baghdad kill 160 people and injure more than 500.
12/16 30 December 2005
Saddam Hussein is executed.
13/16 28 May 2009
The last British combat troops leave Iraq.
14/16 24 November 2009
The Chilcot inquiry holds its first public hearing.
15/16 2 February 2011
The Chilcot inquiry holds its final public hearing.
16/16 21 January 2015
Sir John Chilcot confirms that his report will not be published before the general election in May 2015.
Straw spoke as he awaited the release of the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war, which will also investigate his role in the decision to enter Iraq. He gave his evidence five years ago and claimed it is unfair on the bereaved relatives of people who were killed there to delay its publication any longer.
“I made the decision I made which was to support the war, and I have to take the responsibilities which flow from that,” he added, describing people “wringing their hands and pretending they weren’t there” as “pathetic”. “Either you are there or you’re not”.
“The question which I sometimes face is: if you knew then what you know now, would you have made the same decision? Well no, of course I wouldn’t, but that’s true of a myriad of decisions.”
The 68-year-old also admitted knowing that if he had opposed the war, he could have stopped Britain from becoming involved.
"I [could have] said in early March to Tony, ‘look here Tony, I’m not going to support this’ - and after all I’d seen everything - ‘I’m not going to support this, you’ve got to decide; if you go ahead with this I’ll resign’.
“If I’d resigned the Government wouldn’t have got a majority and it may have brought the Government down. I’m not being precious about that, it’s just a reality. So I was aware of that responsibility.”
Straw will step down as the MP for Blackburn ahead of the general election.Reuse content