David Ford: Blair should apologise to the nation

Tony Blair
Tony Blair

The former Prime Minister Tony Blair should apologise to the country now that the Chilcot Report, launched today, has revealed that he took the UK to war in Iraq before all peaceful options had been exhausted.

Despite other achievements such as the Good Friday Agreement, the Iraq war, its lead-up and fallout will define Mr Blair’s time in office.

Thousands of people died, including 179 British soldiers, while more people were injured and displaced due to the war. We must not forget about them and their loved ones.

Mr Blair needs to now admit to his mistakes and at points dishonesty, and apologise publicly for his actions.

Alliance is not a pacifist party and we accept there are some circumstances in which the use of military force can be justified as a last resort.

However, we also back the rule of law, which internationally means respecting the will and authority of the UN. That did not happen in this case.

Today’s report shows the UK entered a major war under false pretences and without properly exploring the consequences, reverberations which are still being felt today.

We try to set ourselves to a higher moral standard. Clearly in this case, Mr Blair and others did not meet that.

There should be reflections and thoughts about next actions from those quarters today.

David Ford, South Antrim MLA, Alliance Leader, Stormont