Jack Straw: People still shout 'war criminal' at me on the Tube

Former foreign secretary reveals his regrets over the Iraq war

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.

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.

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