County MP: Chilcot report confirms UK was misled over Iraq

John Mann MP
John Mann MP

A Nottinghamshire MP says Sir John Chilcot’s report into the Iraq war inquiry confirms the country was misled when the decision was made to take military action against Iraq in 2003.

John Mann, MP for Bassetlaw, also said he would have voted differently to how he did back then had he known the full facts.

Mr Mann said: “There can be no question, having read the key findings in the report by Sir John Chilcot into the Iraq war that Parliament and the British people were misled over vital information relating to Iraq before the war.

“We were told that Iraq had chemical and other weapons capable of being fired as far as Cyprus and we were aware that Saddam Hussein had been made enough to murder his own people in large numbers in previous years.

“We were provided with information and key experts to re-inforce that view.

“What MPs were told in private was much more detailed, but no different in totality to what was made public.

“Given the so called evidence by the senior politicians, the Prime Minister Tony Blair personally, John Prescott his deputy, the Foreign and Defence secretaries and the heads of the military and intelligence services then we now have to question who to believe?

“I, like virtually everyone else regrets British involvement in the Iraq war.

“It did not succeed.”

Prime Minister David Cameron has said lessons must be learned from the report’s findings and Mr Mann says any future decision to engage British armed forces in conflict must be fully scrutinised before troops are sent into battle.

Mr Mann continued: “The USA would of course have invaded anyway and we undoubtedly would have provided peacekeeping forces afterwards, who would have suffered casualties.

“But nevertheless we, including myself, were misled over the most important facts and information and crucial changes must follow.

“No Prime Minister can ever be allowed to move forward potential military action without full Cabinet discussion and agreement.

“We were led to believe that had happened and we now find it did not.

“Whoever is Prime Minister must not have that power and neither can we allow our intelligence services to avoid full scrutiny through Parliament.

“They do not get properly held to account and that is a fundamental weakness.

“These changes are major and vital.

“There will be other military interventions needed.

“In Rwanda and Bosnia, the UN failed to protect people.

“They were wrong and we were wrong to allow those wars to develop.

“In Syria – where twice I opposed military action and was attacked not locally, but in London for doing so – we need to tread cautiously but not to be scared of making decisions.

“In Iraq, where our military as ever fought bravely and at huge cost, in lives, injuries and mental trauma, as they do in every conflict, we need to recognise their sacrifice and where we got it wrong, not just apologise, and I do, unreservedly, but also ensure that there is effective accountability of the British State.

“Would I have voted the way I did with the knowledge I had then? Yes I would.

“Would I have done so with the true facts? No, I would not.”