Sunday, December 3, 2023

"Blair duped me" says former Thurrock MP Andrew Mackinlay

FORMER THURROCK MP, Andrew Mackinlay 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.

Blair backed Iraq military action a year before the war, a memo suggests

“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.

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.


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