Tony Blair says Chilcot report should 'lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit'

Mr Blair said he "will take full responsibility for any mistakes without exception or excuse"

Tony Blair says Chilcot report should 'lay to rest allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit'

File photo. Image: Fiona Hanson / PA Wire/Press Association Images

Tony Blair has said he will take "full responsibility for any mistakes without exception or excuse" following the release of the Chilcot Report.

In his response to the Iraq Inquiry's findings, the former UK Prime Minister said he took the decision to go to war in Iraq "in good faith and in what I believed to be the best interests of the country".

John Chilcot said the decision to invade was made "before the peaceful option for disarmament had been exhausted".

The severity of the threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction "were presented with a certainty that was not justified" by Tony Blair's government, Mr Chilcot added.

The inquiry found Mr Blair told George Bush he would be with him "whatever" eight months before the invasion of Iraq was launched, and suggested January or February 2003 as a strike date.

While the report does not explicitly say the former prime minister did a deal with the US president to back military action, it says Mr Blair’s commitment in July 2002 - which had not been discussed or agreed with his Cabinet - set the UK on a path that would "make it very difficult" for it to withdraw its support.

Mr Blair said the 2.6 million-word report should lay to rest any allegations of bad faith, lies or deceit - irrespective of whether people agree or disagree with his decision to take military action against Saddam Hussein.

The former leader pointed to three "clear" findings in the report that there was no falsification or improper use of intelligence, that there was no deception of his Cabinet, and no secret commitment to war made with then US President George Bush.

He went on: "However the report does make real and material criticisms of preparation, planning, process and of the relationship with the United States.

"These are serious criticisms and they require serious answers. I will respond in detail to them later this afternoon.

"I will take full responsibility for any mistakes without exception or excuse."

In the statement, Mr Blair insisted that the removal of Saddam Hussein was not the cause of the terrorism seen today in the Middle East or elsewhere in the world.

Meanwhile, a woman whose brother was killed in the Iraq War said Tony Blair is the "world's worst terrorist".

Sarah O'Connor, speaking after the release of the Chilcot report, said: "There is one terrorist in this world that the world needs to be aware of, and his name is Tony Blair, the world’s worst terrorist," she said.

She added: "If he is so sure of his decision, why isn't he here... Look me in the eye."

Roger Bacon, who son died in the war, also asked why can't Mr Blair "look me in the eye and say he didn't mislead the nation" by invading to Iraq.

Mr Bacon said: "Never again must so many mistakes be allowed to sacrifice British lives, and lead to the destruction of a country for no positive end."