Blair 'legal challenge' over Iraq reaches funding target

The families of soldiers who died during the Iraq War hope to launch a legal challenge against former Prime Minister Tony Blair. Credit: PA

The father of a British soldier killed in the Iraq War has said the "fightgoes on" to pursue possible legal action against Tony Blair.

Reg Keys, from Hollywood in Birmingham, whose son Tom Keys died in 2003, said lawyers were now "drilling down" into the 2.6 million page Chilcot report after a successful £150,000 crowd-funding campaign to pay for the crucial legal work.

The Iraq War Families Campaign Group launched the fundraiser on July 19 and despite passing its target, money has continued to roll in, now totalling £159,000 from more than 5,100 donors.

That cash is funding a forensic legal analysis of the Chilcot report, to establish whether a case could be brought against Mr Blair or other seniorBritish officials "who might have acted unlawfully or in excess of their powers".

Reg Key's son Lance Corporal Tom Keys died during the conflict in the weeks after the initial invasion. Credit: PA

Mr Keys, who has led the campaign with fellow bereaved father Roger Bacon, said: "We're hopeful the next time you see us, it'll be at the Royal Courts of Justice to bring a civil prosecution over this debacle."He said the first stage of work by a team of lawyers from London-based McCue and Partners had already been completed.

The cash appeal came weeks after the Chilcot report tore into former primeminister Mr Blair, other leading politicians and senior officials over theiractions before, during and after the conflict in which 179 British servicepersonnel died.

Mr Keys said:

"The first instalment of work is already over.

"About one week ago the lawyers completed a breakdown of the areas they would be looking at.

"We've had that breakdown.

"But it's got to be a water-tight argument."

Between six and eight lawyers are working through the lengthy report with Mr Keys hopeful the families can fulfil their vow to "bring to justice those responsible for the war and the deaths of our loved ones".

He said the campaign had taken inspiration from the fight by the bereavedHillsborough relatives and the successful civil court action bought by lovedones of victims of the 1998 Omagh bombings.

Mr Keys said: "I feel good.

"We're back on the road again at last, things have not come to a stagnantend.

"The fight goes on."

Demonstrators protest outside the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre during the Iraq Inquiry. Credit: PA

Sir John Chilcot's report strongly criticised the way Mr Blair took the countryto war in 2003 on the basis of "flawed" intelligence with inadequatepreparation at a time when Saddam Hussein did not pose an "imminent threat".

It also said the way the decision about the legal basis for the war was reached was "far from satisfactory", but his report did not rule on the legality of the military action.

Mr Blair has defended the decision to oust Saddam and insisted that his efforts to form a close relationship with the US had persuaded President George W Bush to pursue a second UN Security Council resolution, which ultimately was not obtained.