This morning's publication of the long awaited Chilcot report, vindicated the Liberal Democrats' opposition to the war in Iraq.
Tony Blair chose the united states over the united nations, this report drives home that due process was overlooked. The Labour party, under his leadership, led the house of commons into a war based on information highlighted today as unsatisfactory.
In 2004 then Liberal Democrat deputy leader, lord Campbell criticised the Tories - calling them the "wobblers of Westminster" for "their conversion from cheer-leaders to critics" of the war.
I welcome Sir John Chilcot’s findings and offer sympathy to the lives blighted in Iraq and those servicemen killed and injured, as well as their families. I hope comfort can be found in the reports highlighting of the bravery and professionalism of those who fought with honour under the belief they were protecting their country.
As a party which firmly believes in evidence based policy making, we held deep reservations about rushing into this conflict. The the divisions Iraq caused, the unnecessary hurt overseas and at home was foreseen by our leader Charles Kennedy. He stated that action in Iraq would lead to more suicide bombers.
At their hands we have had our own civil liberties eroded under Blair’s Labour governments. Blair famously stated ‘we should put our own safety over liberty’. The result of the decision to go to war led to our own basic rights being impaired, our own freedoms curbed by the
Threat to innocent lives on the streets of Britain, coupled with the erosion of our civil liberties initiated by Labour and continued under the current government.
The only community which has prevailed since 2003 is that of daesh. With no assessment, plan or agreement of a post-conflict plan. The Labour government had succeeded in offering mobility and a platform to their hostile ideology and terrorist cause. This is a devastating indictment of Labour’s time in power; and of our political system itself.
In parliament the Liberal Democrats have called for a two-day debate, to help the process of learning lessons and to prevent such mistakes being made again.
Writing today, I am proud that Charles Kennedy and the Liberal Democrats have been vindicated over our stance opposing the war in Iraq, and we must ensure that these mistakes are never made again.