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Straw denies Iraq 'deception' as he rejects Corbyn pledge

Former foreign secretary Jack Straw has dismissed Jeremy Corbyn's pledge to apologise for the Iraq War on behalf of Labour if elected as the party's leader.

Mr Corbyn, the front runner in the leadership race who fiercely opposed the 2003 invasion, said the party must say sorry for the "deception" in a statement to The Guardian.

While Jack Straw joined then-Prime Minister Tony Blair in leading the case for the Iraq invasion, Jeremy Corbyn was among Labour backbenchers who opposed war in the Commons. Credit: PA

Mr Straw, who helped to lead the case for war and has always defended the controversial decision to invade, told ITV News: "There was no deception."

The view that Iraq posed a threat because of its weapons of mass destruction was upheld unanimously by the Security Council when it passed Resolution 1441 in November 2002.

– Jack Straw, speaking to ITV News

"I deeply regret the loss of life," Mr Straw added.

British-based group the Iraq Body Count has recorded 142,856 to 162,136 civilian deaths in Iraq from violence following the 2003 invasion as part of a total death toll of 219,000, though all figures are considered to be low-end estimates. Some 179 British personnel died in the conflict.

The Chilcot Inquiry, which was set up in July 2009 to look at the UK's role in the Iraq War, including the decision to invade and the preparation of troops, is still to publish its findings.


Miliband attacks Cameron on MPs' second jobs

Ed Miliband has called on David Cameron to ban MPs from having second jobs "to restore the reputation of this house" following recent allegations against two former foreign secretaries.

Ed Miliband addressing David Cameron in the Commons today. Credit: ITV News

Mr Miliband accused the Prime Minister of not wanting to change the rules after the Government amended a Labour motion that MPs should only have one job.

The Labour leader recalled comments by Mr Cameron in 2009 when he said in opposition that "being a Member of Parliament must be a full-time commitment" and that "double-jobbing MPs" would not be allowed under his leadership.

Mr Cameron said Mr Miliband's proposal was "not thought through", adding: "I think the difficulty with your specific proposal is it would allow, for instance, someone to be a paid trade union official but it wouldn't allow someone to run a family business or a family shop."

Miliband hit back, saying: "Let's agree now we will rule out anyone being a paid trade union official, a paid director, or a paid consultant. Say yes and we can restore the reputation of this House."

ITV News Political Editor Tom Bradby said Mr Miliband's performance at Prime Minister's Questions was one of his "best" for a while.

Rifkind to step down as MP over cash-for-access claims

Former Conservative Foreign Secretary Sir Malcolm Rifkind has stepped down from an important parliamentary committee and says he'll quit as an MP at the election.

It comes after he was secretly filmed apparently discussing payment for political influence.

Sir Malcolm admitted today he may have made errors of judgment - but insisted he'd done nothing wrong.

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports:


Sir Malcolm Rifkind says allegations are 'not justified'

Sir Malcolm Rifkind has denied any wrong doing and said the cash for access allegations are "not justified".

He announced earlier today that he would be stepping down as an MP at the General Election and he also resigned as chairman of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee,

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports:

Malcolm Rifkind: 'I don't think I did anything wrong'

Sir Malcolm Rifkind has again denied any wrong doing over the cash-for-access claims, saying he may have made "errors of judgement" but said, "I don't think I did anything wrong."

Sir Malcolm was speaking after his resignation as the chair of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee and saying he will step down as an MP at the general election.

The former Foreign Secretary said he had resigned as he "did not want the work of the committee to be distracted."

Tories 'respect' Rifkind's decision to step down as MP

The Conservative party has said it supports Sir Malcolm Rifkind's decision to stand down as an MP.

Sir Rifkind, 68, also announced earlier today he would be resigning as chairman of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee

The news comes amid fresh pressure over cash for access allegations.

Sir Malcolm has had a long career of distinguished service both to the Conservative Party and the country. We respect and support his decision to stand down.

– Conservative Party spokesperson
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