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Tony Blair: I'm more sorry over Iraq than you will ever know

Tony Blair has apologised for the Iraq War failings but insisted: "I did not mislead the country".

The former prime minister said he accepted "full responsibility "without exception or excuse" and "there's not a day goes by that I don't think about it".

With tears in his eyes, he said: "I express more sorrow, regret and apology than you may ever know."

But despite the failings and loss of life, including 179 British soldiers and thousands of Iraqis, he said he believed he did make the right decision - and would do it again.

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 the world is better and safer as a result of it.

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.

– Tony Blair
Former prime minister Tony Blair with then US president George Bush. Credit: PA

The Chilcot report into the Iraq War revealed Blair sent then US president George Bush a note saying he would be "with him, whatever" before the invasion.

But Blair said this meant he would "be with the USA in dealing with this issue" and that after 9/11 he believed we were stronger together.

He admitted the intelligence he had at the time turned out to be wrong, the aftermath was more hostile than he imagined and "a nation of people we wanted to set free became victims of sectarian terrorism".

"Sometimes 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," Blair said.

"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."

Blair said he would make the same decision again. Credit: ITV News

Taking questions, ITV News Political Editor Robert Peston asked Blair what he was specifically apologising for.

Blair replied: "For the mistakes." "What mistakes?" Peston asked.

"The mistakes of planning and process, I'm not passing it off to someone else, I accept full responsibility for those mistakes, " said Blair.

He continued: "What happened afterwards, we know, but the question is would we be in a better place today if we'd taken the opposite decision?"

"You wouldn't do it again?" Peston interjects.

To which Blair answers: "If I was back in the same place, with the same information, I would take the same decision, as that's the decision I believe was right."

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