Nick Clegg under pressure after 'illegal war' comment

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Indy Politics

Anti-war campaigners today called on Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to follow up on his belief that the invasion of Iraq was illegal by making sure those responsible for the conflict were brought to justice, including Tony Blair.

Mr Clegg voiced his strong opposition to the war as he stood in at the Commons dispatch box for David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions yesterday.

During an exchange with Labour's shadow justice secretary Jack Straw, who was Tony Blair's foreign secretary when the US-led offensive began, Mr Clegg said: "I'm happy to account for everything we are doing in this coalition Government, which has brought together two parties, working in the national interest to sort out the mess that you left behind.

"Perhaps one day you could account for your role in the most disastrous decision of all, which is the illegal invasion of Iraq."

Andrew Murray, chairman of the Stop The War Coalition, said today: "Nick Clegg has only said from the dispatch box what is common knowledge in every living room across the land - that the Iraq war was illegal.

"The Deputy Prime Minister should now use his authority to ensure that those responsible for this gross breach of international law - Tony Blair above all - are brought to justice.

"Only then can we be assured that such an act of lawless aggression will never be repeated."

Bob Crow, general secretary of the Rail Maritime and Transport union said: "There's no point Nick Clegg talking about illegal wars in Iraq while he is second in command of a Government that is continuing with the futile adventure in Afghanistan that is now sending brave British troops home in body-bags on almost a daily basis.

"If Clegg wants to maintain any credibility he will have to commit the Government to the earliest possible date for the withdrawal of our troops from the chaos of Afghanistan before more lives are needlessly lost."

A Downing Street spokesman insisted Mr Clegg's remarks were not Government policy, adding that the legality of the invasion was currently being studied by the Iraq Inquiry.