Chilcot Inquiry report has been released

Sir John Chilcot released his long-awaited and much delayed report into the Iraq War.

Thirteen soldiers from the North East died in the conflict. Their families have played a role in pushing for the inquiry and its conclusions to be released in the report.

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Watch: Chilcot report findings

Bereaved families from the North East have been digesting the publication of the Chilcot report into the Iraq war, seven years after the inquiry began.

The report runs to more than 6000 pages and delivers a scathing verdict on the justification of the war, with former Prime Minister and Sedgefield MP Tony Blair bearing the brunt of the criticism.

Watch the report from our Correspondent Frances Read:

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Tony Blair: Iraq War 'hardest, most agonising decision'

The decision to go to war in Iraq was the "hardest, most agonising decision" he ever made, said former prime minister Tony Blair, adding: "I accept full responsibility" for it.

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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."


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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."

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Blair: I had to act on information I was given at the time

Tony Blair has said he had to act on information he was given in reports at the time even if some of it turned out to later be wrong.

He told a press conference: "I only ask that people read the reports given to me, first in September 2001 and then in March 2002, and in the days leading up to the invasion.

"In hindsight, we now know that some of this information was not correct, but I had to act on the information I had at the time."

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Tony Blair: I had to consider possibility of 9/11 in UK

Tony Blair has said that "there was no rush to war", but he had to take into account at least "the possibility of a 9/11 here, in Britain".

He said as prime minister his primary response was to protect his country, and asked people to put themselves in his shoes.

Her added he had made it clear publicly and privately that the UK would stand with the US on the issue of the Iraq War.

But he insists his note to George Bush saying: "I will be with you, whatever" meant he would "be with the USA in dealing with this issue".

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