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Blair hits back at critics who claim he made wrong decision

Blair has apologised for the Iraq War failings but insisted he still made the right decision. Credit: PA

Tony Blair has hit back at those who criticised his decision to go to war with Iraq saying they should say what would have happened if he hadn't.

The former prime minister told a press conference: "If someone is going to say that decision is wrong, then they need to spell out what would have happened if I had taken the opposite decision.

"And what isn't fair is to say 'well, I don't think you should have done that', but I don't take a view on what you should have done. I'm afraid, that's not decision making."

Blair: There's not a day I don't think about Iraq decision

Tony Blair has said there is "not a single day" where he doesn't think about the Iraq decision but he "had to take a decision that was really hard".

The former prime minister said he "thought really deeply" about the "hard decision".

"I go back over it all the time, all the time I relive it, all the time, there's not a single day I don't relive it."

Chilcot report 'does not find Blair government dishonest'

Former Secretary of State for Justice Lord Falconer has said the Chilcot report "makes no finding of dishonesty on the part of the [Blair] government".

The former Lord Chancellor under the Tony Blair administration said the government at the time of the Iraq invasion was honestly trying to decide on the right course of action in relation to Iraq.

"At the time, most intelligence agencies thought that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction," Lord Falconer said.

Ultimately, there was no avoiding the need to take a very difficult decision in March 2003, and that difficult decision was whether or not you should use force against a man who'd led a country which...in the previous 11 years, had deliberately sought to avoid weapons inspectors finding out whether or not he had weapons of mass destruction.

– Lord Falconer

He added, however, that "in one sense" the decision to invade Iraq was wrong because no weapons of mass destruction were found, and that there are "lots of lessons that need to be learnt about how government operates".

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Blair: I can look public in eye and say I did not mislead them

Tony Blair has said he can look the public and families of the soldiers who died in Iraq in the eye and say: "I did not mislead this country".

The former prime minister said: "I made the decision in good faith on the information I had at the time. And I believe that it is better that we took that decision.

"I acknowledge all the problems that came with that decision. I acknowledge the mistakes and accept responsibility for them.

"But what I cannot do, and will not do, is say I believe we took the wrong decision.

"I believe I made the right decision, and that the world is better and safer as a result of it.

"Sometimes when people talk about me in this regard, almost as if I don't care about the loss of life and the grief and suffering of the families.

"But I had to decide, are more people going to suffer? Are more people going to die if we leave this brutal dictator in place who had already killed so many people? So, that's the decision, I'm afraid."

Saddam 'posed a threat as long as he was in power'

Saddam Hussein "would have posed a threat as long as he was in power", Tony Blair said.

The former prime minister said if Hussein had not been toppled he would have contributed to the Arab revolution in 2011.

"The world is a better place without Saddam. I believe it was the right thing to do."

Blair added that it would have been hard to assemble forces at a later date, and that Saddam Hussein would have had a stronger position. He continued that in this stronger position the Iraqi dictator would have gone on to develop nuclear and chemical weapons.

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