Tony Blair: I express more sorrow and regret than you can ever believe

Written by David Singleton on 6 July 2016 in Diary

Watch: How the former PM responded to Chilcot

Following the publication of the Chicot report, Tony Blair made a lengthy statement before taking questions.

The full 2.6 million-word report has been published online.

In the introduction to his speech, Blair stated that he took full responsibility for the Iraq war, that intelligence assessments turned out to be wrong -  and that he was deeply sorry.

“The decision to go to war in Iraq and remove Saddam Hussein from power in a coalition of over 40 countries led by the USA, was the hardest, most momentous, most agonising decision I took in 10 years as British prime minister.

“For that decision today I accept full responsibility, without exception and without excuse. I recognise the division felt by many in our country over the war and in particular I feel deeply and sincerely – in a way that no words can properly convey – the grief and suffering of those who lost ones they loved in Iraq, whether the members of our armed forces, the armed forces of other nations, or Iraqis.

“The intelligence assessments made at the time of going to war turned out to be wrong. The aftermath turned out to be more hostile, protracted and bloody than ever we imagined. The coalition planned for one set of ground facts and encountered another, and a nation whose people we wanted to set free and secure from the evil of Saddam, became instead victim to sectarian terrorism.

“For all of this I express more sorrow, regret and apology than you may ever know or can believe.”



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