Protestors call for Blair to go to the Hague, as he faces Chilcot for the second time

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Tony Blair returned to the Chilcot Inquiry for the second time today. He was there to iron out discrepancies between his evidence, and that of former Attorney General Lord (Peter) Goldsmith.

                        

He arrived early, at 7.30am, to try and beat the protestors outside. Later, people from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and various other Stop the War Coalition types did came out, Bliar banners in hand. A CND spokesman did though concede that there was less of a presence than last time.  He also told VN that, despite the case not getting anywhere in 2003, pending the outcome of this inquiry, they would look again at getting the issue into the international courts.

VN is sure we saw former Lib Dem Leader Sir Menzies Campbell coming out of the Queen Elizabeth II Centre too!

Inside Blair was once again heckled, this time for saying that he “regrets deeply and profoundly the loss of life” caused by the war in Iraq. Families of soldiers who had died in Iraq shouted “too late”, in reference to his refusal to express regret for his decisions the first time he gave evidence. Blair said that his refusal to do so had been misrepresented.

Confident and fluent as ever, it seems the inquiry team were finding it hard to get at the former Prime Minister, and there were no real jaw dropping moments in his evidence. Trying to demonstrate his strong consideration for the legality of the war, and show his influence on the US, Blair reiterated that he had guided them into getting UN resolution 1441. He believed that this formed the legal basis for the war, and had instructed his negotiators at the UN to ensure it did. This view was not originally shared by Lord Goldsmith, although he eventually came around to agreeing, after seeing the 1441 negotiation documents.

Eight months before launching the invasion, Blair had told President Bush that he stood with them on taking military action. He repeated though that his case for war, unlike America, was the supposed presence of WMDs in Iraq, and the failure of Saddam to unreservedly allow weapons inspectors in. No such weapons have ever been found in Iraq. He said: “it wasn’t our policy to have regime change, it was our policy to deal with WMD issue”, although he wasn’t opposed to regime change if it was a way of dealing with the WMDs.

Mr. Blair also reiterated his fears about the ‘negative, destabilising’ presence of Iran in the Middle East.

By now most people have made up their mind on the Iraq war, and Blair’s appearance will do nothing to alter those who either agree with him that he is a ‘liberal interventionist’ who was protecting British interests, or those campaigners outside who believed him to be a war criminal who should stand trial at the Hague.

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