Tony Blair duped me over Iraq and I feel ashamed, former Labour MP who voted for war says

Andrew MacKinlay says he feels stupid for voting for the war

Jon Stone
Monday 19 October 2015 13:52 BST
The memo was written a week before the Crawford summit at the President’s ranch in Texas in 2002
The memo was written a week before the Crawford summit at the President’s ranch in Texas in 2002 (AFP/Getty Images)

A former Labour MP has said he is “ashamed” to have trusted Tony Blair about the Iraq War after new evidence emerged about his views in the run-up to the conflict.

Andrew MacKinlay, who sat on the foreign affairs select committee in the run-up to the war, told LBC Radio that a new memo shows Tony Blair “duped” him along with the rest of the country.

“Looking at this these documents this morning and everything else that has gone before we know that this was a complete and utter deceit to me and to others,” he said.

“Obviously I feel both deeply ashamed and very stupid having trusted a British prime minister, but it was a British prime minister.

“One assumed that even allowing for exaggeration or inaccuracies in intelligence, I never thought it would be one hundred per cent untrue, but it was and myself and the British people, all of us, were duped.”

Mr MacKinlay was responding to the release of a memo that showed Mr Blair supported a war with Iraq in 2002, when he publicly claimed to be searching for a diplomatic solution.

At the time he told voters that Britain was “not proposing military action”, a claim contradicted by the memo, which was leaked to the Mail on Sunday newspaper.

Andrew Mackinlay gives evidence to the Hutton Inquiry (Getty Images)

The former Labour MP reported a private conversation with the then PM, who he says had promised there would be no invasion if supposed weapons of mass destruction were removed from the equation.

Following that conversation, he voted for war in the House of Commons.

No weapons of mass destruction, the existence of which were used as the pretext for war, were found in Iraq.

Mr Mackinlay famously questioned MoD weapons specialist Dr David Kelly at a hearing of the foreign affairs committee, describing him as “chaff” – meaning a diversionary manoeuvre.

Mr Kelly died a few days after the evidence hearing, apparently as a result of a suicide.

A spokesperson for Tony Blair told the Mail on Sunday newspaper, regarding the memo: “This is consistent with what Blair was saying publicly at the time and with Blair’s evidence given to the Chilcot Inquiry”.

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