MP questions Foreign Secretary on Iraq war consequences

Member of Parliament Jonathan Edwards this week questioned the UK Government’s Foreign Secretary, William Hauge MP, regarding the escalating events in Iraq.

Iraq

In his question the local MP asked the Foreign Secretary whether he shared his regret that the report from Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war had not been published. If the report had been published, Jonathan Edwards said, the UK Government’s foreign policy would benefit from the detailed analysis of events before, during and, critically, after the last Gulf war.

The war in Iraq saw former Carmarthenshire MP Adam Price ejected from Parliament for claiming that the then Prime Minister, Tony Blair had lied to Parliament. In 2004, Mr Price became the first person for more than 150 years to attempt have a serving Prime Minister prosecuted.

Price’s impeachment attempts had, commentators said, brought unprecedented and unwelcome attention on the reasons why Britain had gone to war.

Responding to questioning this week, Foreign Secretary William Hague agreed with Jonathan Edwards and shared his regret that an inquiry into the war had not been started sooner under the last UK Government.

Mr Edwards says the deepening crisis in Iraq must see the UK Government urgently pursue diplomatic and humanitarian channels to assist the growing number of refugees in the region, and called for the full and immediate publication of the Chilcot inquiry to throw a light on the UK’s true involvement in the war.

Jonathan Edwards MP said:

“The complexity and volatility of the situation in Iraq cannot be over-emphasised.

“My party warned at the time that invasion would lead to regional destabilisation. Regrettably, eleven years on, it is clear that we now see a regional conflict based on deep-rooted sectarian and religious divides spreading from Syria to Iraq with no guarantee that it will stop at the gates of Baghdad. It is not a conflict that respects international borders.

“In 2003 the UK and US planned for war without preparing for peace. A report from the Chilcot inquiry which has looked into this war is in the national interest – now more than ever given the on-going crisis in the region. It must be published urgently and published in full.

“As world leaders consider the increasing destabilisation in Iraq, the lessons of 2003 must be learnt, and solutions must be found based on containing and resolving the conflict, not escalating it.

“Plaid Cymru was at the forefront of the campaign to impeach former Prime Minister Tony Blair for his role in taking the UK to war on false grounds. We stand by our claims that Mr Blair should face criminal charges for his actions.

“Carmarthenshire played an important part in the 2003 anti-war campaign. I remember vividly joining protestors who had travelled from west Wales to the anti-war march in London – the largest ever protest in London to this day.

“I want my constituents to know that I will be urging the UK Government to pursue all diplomatic and humanitarian channels to assist with the growing numbers of refugees in the region.”

ENDS

Jonathan Edwards (Plaid Cymru, Carmarthen East and Dinefwr)
Given that the Foreign Secretary now finds himself dealing with a major crisis in Iraq, does he share my regret that the Chilcot inquiry has not published its report? If it had, his foreign policy would benefit from a detailed analysis of events before, during and, critically, after the last Gulf war.

William Hague (The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)
Yes, in many ways, because I think it was 2006 when, as shadow Foreign Secretary, I first proposed an inquiry on Iraq. I imagine that the hon. Gentleman’s party supported that at the time; I am sure that it did. Perhaps it even called for an inquiry before then. Had the inquiry been established then, rather than being resisted by the then Government for a good two years, we would certainly have had the result by now.

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