Blair ally admits: Invasion of Iraq was a mistake

Tony Blair and Lord Falconer Credit: PA

The invasion of Iraq by British forces in 2003 was a mistake, one of Tony Blair's closest allies during the build-up to the war has admitted.

Lord Falconer, an ex-flatmate and confidante of the former Labour Prime Minister, said many senior members now regret the decision to send in troops more than a decade ago due to the damage it caused the party.

In an interview with BBC Scotland on Labour's decline in the country, the former Lord Chancellor said while he had supported the decision at the time, in hindsight he knew it was wrong.

The decision to invade Iraq in 2003 sparked protests Credit: PA

He also denied that the controversial invasion - which still haunts the party more than eight years after Mr Blair stood down - had hurt the party more in Scotland than in England.

The decision sparked scores of protests in the following years.

Evidence produced in September 2002, before the invasion, claimed intelligence had revealed "beyond doubt" that the late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had an arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, and had tried to build nuclear weapons.

It declared that Iraq could deploy these weapons within 45 minutes of the order being given.

But no such weapons were ever found.