A Labour MP has been heckled by his own party colleagues after claiming fellow members were "bribed" to back Tony Blair’s war in Iraq.
Paul Flynn was branded a "disgrace" and "outrageous" as he claimed Labour MPs accepted "inducements" from Mr Blair’s ministers in return for helping take the UK into the bloody conflict.
It came as the Commons debated an SNP motion calling for a parliamentary probe into any differences between Mr Blair's public statements in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion and his private correspondence with then US president George Bush, as revealed by the Chilcot inquiry.
Recalling the 2003 Commons vote before the invasion, Mr Flynn said: "We know that during that debate 139 of my comrades on the Labour benches voted against the war.
"It was a very courageous thing to do because we were under great pressure. But there were 50 others who had grave doubts about the war and they were, in my view, bribed, bullied, bamboozled into voting the wrong way and many of them have regretted it very much since."
While Mr Flynn said he was not talking about financial bribes, he added: "There are such things as political bribes with inducements, offers, we’re well aware here.
"There was a very heavy operation to convince members to vote for war."
Labour MP Ian Austin slammed the speech as a "disgrace" and later claimed the SNP’s sole purpose for tabling their motion was to highlight Labour divisions on the issue.
He said: "Despite all of the problems faced by the people of Scotland who they’re sent here to represent, they haven’t got a word to say about that.
"Instead of choosing to debate issues that people of Scotland worry about day in, day out - education, health services, housing - they come here to score party political points, choosing motion after motion to divide the Labour party. That’s what this is about."
Former Tory chancellor Ken Clarke, one of the few Conservative MPs to have voted against the war, suggested the SNP focus on learning the mistakes of the lead up to war.
He said: "Do you not accept that if we just turn these post-Chilcot debates into an attempt to pursue and hound Tony Blair, the whole thing just turns into a party political argument with Labour members of Parliament trying to defend the position of their government?
"Are you going in due course... to address the most important matter of how do we ensure that in future…we don't have another catastrophic foreign policy decision in future."
But SNP foreign affairs spokesman Alex Salmond said the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee should begin a new inquiry into Mr Blair’s promises to Mr Bush.
He said the seven-year Chilcot inquiry into the war concluded that "this was very much a personal campaign by the prime minister".
MPs voted 439 to 70 against subjecting Blair to a parliamentary investigation into the war.Reuse content