No-one lied, no-one made up intelligence, says Blair

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Tony Blair today welcomed the Butler report saying it showed the Government and intelligence services acted in "good faith".

Tony Blair today welcomed the Butler report saying it showed the Government and intelligence services acted in "good faith".

The Prime Minister told MPs the report showed errors were made in drawing up the September 2002 dossier on Iraq's weapons.

But Mr Blair said: "No-one lied. No-one made up the intelligence. No-one inserted things into the dossier against the advice of the intelligence services.

"Everyone genuinely tried to do their best in good faith for the country in circumstances of acute difficulty.

"That issue of good faith should now be at an end."

Mr Blair told the Commons he had expected to find "actual usable chemical or biological weapons shortly after we entered Iraq".

He noted Lord Butler's conclusion that it would be "rash" to state that they did not exist or would never be found.

"But I have to accept, as the months have passed, it seems increasingly clear that at the time of invasion Saddam did not have stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons ready to deploy," he said.

That raised the issue of whether, even if his Government had acted in good faith, the war had been misconceived and therefore unjustified, he told MPs.

"I have searched my conscience, not in a spirit of obstinacy but in a genuine reconsideration in the light of what we know now, in answer to that question," he said.

"As I shall say later, for any mistakes made, as the report finds, in good faith I of course take full responsibility but I cannot honestly say I believe getting rid of Saddam was a mistake at all.

"Iraq, the region, the wider world is a better and safer place without Saddam."

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