It has taken far too long for this Report to be published but I hope that it does at least provide some answers to the families of the British servicemen and women and civilians who lost their lives or were wounded in the conflict in Iraq. Our thoughts are with them and with all those whose lives have been harmed by the UK Government’s decision to join the 2003 invasion of Iraq, not least the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed, injured, bereaved or displaced.

The Report draws extremely sobering conclusions: that the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before all peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted, that evidence about weapons of mass destruction was presented with a certainty that was not justified, that the legality of the decision to go to war was not subject to sufficient scrutiny and challenge and that there was wholly inadequate preparation for both the invasion and the aftermath.

We cannot change the past but it is essential that we learn the lessons for the future. A vote on military intervention is one of the hardest decisions a Member of Parliament is required to make and as parliamentarians we have a duty to ensure that Sir John Chilcot’s recommendations are properly understood, discussed and acted upon. 

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