Labour government was wrong to invade Iraq, says Tony Blair's former flatmate Lord Falconer

Lord Falconer supported the invasion and served in Tony Blair's government

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Indy Politics

Tony Blair was wrong to invade Iraq in 2003, a close friend and ally of the former Labour leader has admitted.

Lord Falconer, former Lord Chancellor and flatmate of Mr Blair, told BBC Scotland the decision to go to was on a false premise had damaged the party.

“I supported the invasion. We didn't find weapons of mass destruction there and that was the basis by which we went in – so on that basis, we weren't right to go in,” he said.

“That damaged Labour right throughout Scotland and England, but I'm not sure that it necessarily damaged Labour more in Scotland than it did in England."

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Lord Falconer

In 2005, two years after the troops went in, the Labour peer candidly told the Independent Iraq had “brought a climate of distrust into politics”.

“Iraq has had a profound effect on the whole political climate, it seems to me,” he said at the time.

“The vigour of the debate has to some extent got to a position where because there was such a profound disagreement it has led to people being distrustful of each other.”

Labour leadership candidates were subject to angry questions about the Iraq war at a recent hustings event in Nuneaton hosted by BBC Newsnight – despite the invasion being launched over a decade ago.

 

In 2010 Ed Miliband made it one of his first priorities as newly elected Labour leader to say Mr Blair was wrong to wage the war.

Mr Blair has never apologised for the invasion nor said he made a mistake.

Casualty estimates on the war have varied dramatically but a number of studies have found that it likely caused between 150,000 and 500,000 excess deaths.

The country is currently engulfed in conflict as the so-called Islamic State militant group sweeps across the north, west, and interior of its territory and captures major population centres.

Lord Falconer is currently Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, having returned to the Shadow Cabinet after the election.

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