Lord Beith says Chilcot report is ‘searing criticism’ of Tony Blair

Lord Beith
Lord Beith

Lord Beith has described the Chilcot report on the Iraq was as ‘a searing criticism of Tony Blair’ and MPs who voted to invade Iraq in 2003.

The Lib Dem, who was the MP for the Berwick constituency from 1973 to 2015, voted against the Government when MPs debated the plans to invade in 2003.

All 53 Liberal Democrat MPs voted against the war on the grounds of insufficient intelligence on the existence of weapons of mass destruction and the lack of a mandate form the United Nations, making the war illegal under international law.

Lord Beith said: “The Chilcot report taken as a whole is a searing criticism of Tony Blair and those across the political spectrum who gave him uncritical support in this matter. It is also a severe criticism of those within the intelligence and policy-making processes of government who allow themselves to be caught up in groupthink without opposing the alternatives.

“Tony Blair was motivated by a conviction that our central and vital alliance with the United States required us to be alongside it ‘whatever’. That seems to neglect the fact that in two important conflicts—important to each of our countries respectively—we had considerable differences. I refer to the Vietnam War and the Falklands War. In both cases, we took very different views, but our alliance survived.

“This sad story, which cost many British lives and is still costing so many Iraqi lives, has done lasting damage to public confidence in politicians and the political process. It has undermined in our country the very democratic institutions which our Armed Forces risk their lives to defend, and we owe them better.”