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Labour Leadership: Chuka Umunna calls for party solidarity and support for new leader

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna has called for Labour to unite behind the new party leader in an apparent offer of reconciliation from the party's modernising wing to leadership favourite Jeremy Corbyn.

He also welcomed a surge in party membership and support in the run up to the leadership contest saying that it was important not to "dismiss out of hand" criticism of New Labour.

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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.

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