Tony Blair will today be braced for scathing criticism over his role in the Iraq war, as the Chilcot Report is finally published. The former PM faces accusations he misled the public about Saddam Hussein’s WMD and snubbed repeated warnings the 2003 invasion was illegal. There are fears the report will be a whitewash but Sir John Chilcot insisted he has not held back over who is to blame. A dad of one British soldier killed said: “I hope it addresses the fact Blair lied.” Families of the 179 British troops killed in Iraq hope today’s long-awaited Chilcot Report will finally prove their belief that loved ones were sent to an illegal war on the back of “lies and fabrications” by Tony Blair.
The parents of the 95th British serviceman to be killed in Iraq have said there would be “something terribly wrong with our political process” if the Chilcot Report did not produce grounds for the families of dead soldiers to take legal action over the Iraq war. Roger and Maureen Bacon lost their son Matthew, 34, a major in the Intelligence Corps, when his Snatch Land Rover was hit by an improvised explosive device (IED) in Basra on 11 September 2005. Speaking to The Independent hours before the long-awaited publication of Sir John Chilcot’s report on the Iraq War, Mr and Mrs Bacon accused Tony Blair of betraying their son and misleading Britain into a war that was “a total and utter catastrophe”.
It has been seven years in the making, but the results of the inquiry into Britain’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 will finally be unveiled today. Thirteen years after British troops crossed into Iraq, Sir John Chilcot will deliver his verdict on the UK’s most controversial military engagement of the post-war era – and he has warned the Government, army and intelligence service to expect criticism. The report, believed to have cost around £10million to produce, is published amid calls for former prime minister Tony Blair to be held to account for ‘misleading the public and Parliament’ when taking the UK into the conflict.
Sir John Chilcot has given the first hint that his report into the Iraq War will level criticisms at the politicians and military leaders who took Britain to war. The former Whitehall mandarin will today publish his long-awaited report, seven years after the Iraq Inquiry began and 13 years after British troops crossed into Iraq. Speaking ahead of the publication, Sir John said: “The main expectation I have is that it will not be possible in future to engage in a military or diplomatic endeavour on such a scale and of such gravity, without really careful challenge, analysis and assessment.”
A British MP has claimed that an “EU Commission employee located in Brussels [is] demanding… I vote to cancel UK referendum” result in Parliament. Henry Smith, a Eurosceptic Conservative MP who represents Crawley, backed up his claim by posting a screen shot of an email from an unidentified employee of the European Union’s (EU) unelected executive arm to Twitter. The messages explains that “the referendum is not legally binding on Parliament”, and asks Mr. Smith “to ensure with your fellow MPs that the house will reject any motion to invoke Art[icle] 50 of [the] Lisbon [treaty] to terminate the UK’s membership on the EU”.
Both Hungary and Austria are soon to be holding national votes on issues that could strike further hammer-blows against the future of the European Union, and have announced today they are both to share the same date. In Austria, the state Constitutional Court has just announced the re-run of their presidential election for October second, in which Eurosceptic populist-right candidate Norbert Hofer stands to become the figurehead of the Central European state. The vote was originally held in May but accusations of malpractice during the counting and sorting of postal votes led to a full investigation by the nation’s highest political court. Over a month later, the court reported that it had found “particularly serious” evidence of votes being handled inappropriately and found the number of votes involved was potentially more than the margin of victory in the photo-finish second round vote.
Young Brits who voted Remain in the European Union referendum have been offered the hope of still being able to live and work across the EU without restrictions, despite the Brexit vote. After Britain voted 52 to 48 in favour of quitting the EU on June 23, the outcome caused major losses in global financial markets and raised concerns about the EU’s future prospects. There is also anger being expressed by younger voters who largely opted to Remain, while older voters opted for Brexit , studies suggested. However young people in Britain may still be able to enjoy the benefits of the EU, if German vice chancellor and economy minister Sigmar Gabriel has his way.
In the wake of the UK’s Brexit vote and the decision to leave the European Union (EU), the Hungarian President, Janos Ader, has ordered a nationwide referendum on October 2. The Hungarian people will be asked whether they want to accept any future European Union quota system for resettling migrants. The question will be: “Do you want the European Union to be entitled to prescribe the mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary without the consent of parliament?”
THERESA May has won an emphatic victory in the first round of voting for the Tory leadership, as Liam Fox and Stephen Crabb left the contest. May stormed to a commanding lead as half of the 330 Conservative MPs threw their weight behind her – with Andrea Leadsom coming second. This evening 1922 Committee Graham Brady announced May had topped the first round of the 330 Conservative MPs’ secret ballot, with 165 votes. Fox was eliminated after receiving the least number of votes while Crabb bowed out after getting 34 votes. Brexiteer Leadsom, the dark horse in the contest, came second with 66.
Andrea Leadsom was labelled a ‘novice’ last night by supporters of Michael Gove and Theresa May as she surged to second place in the leadership battle. The energy minister – a relative unknown outside Westminster – was the subject of a ‘get Andrea’ campaign after picking up 66 votes, mainly from MPs who backed Brexit. Some even claimed that Tory whips may be colluding to suppress support for her in order to keep her off the ballot. Bookmakers are now expecting her to make the final two and go on to a ballot of party members alongside Mrs May, guaranteeing the country its second female Prime Minister. But her lack of cabinet experience at a time of significant national uncertainty was promptly put under the spotlight.
Theresa May stormed ahead in the race to become the next prime minister, winning the backing of half of all Conservative MPs in a first round contest that saw Stephen Crabb drop out of the race and endorse her after he slipped into fourth place. The home secretary won the support of 165 MPs while Andrea Leadsom, the energy minister, came second in the contest with 66, beating the justice secretary, Michael Gove, into third place on 48. Fifth-place finisher Liam Fox, on 16 votes, was eliminated. Just over an hour after the result was declared, Crabb said he was offering May his “wholehearted support”, arguing that her ability to secure the backing of 165 MPs showed that she was the only candidate who had any hope of unifying the party and country.
Theresa May’s supporters were last night accused of seeking to rig the Tory leadership ballot by throwing their weight behind Michael Gove. The claim was levelled by Andrea Leadsom’s backers as they sought to explain the justice secretary’s better-than-expected result, which keeps him in the race for the final run-off. “It shows May’s crowd want to face Gove in the members’ ballot and that they fear Andrea,” said one senior Conservative figure shortly after the results were announced of the first round of voting by MPs, who must select two candidates.
Junior doctors in England have rejected the contract offer agreed between Jeremy Hunt and their union the British Medical Association, reopening the long-running dispute and risking a return to industrial action in the NHS. About 37,000 junior doctors and final year medical students voted on the proposed contract in a ‘referendum’ called by the BMA after the contract terms were agreed following protracted negotiations and several waves of strike action earlier this year. The new contract, which requires junior doctors to commit to more weekend working, was rejected with 58 per cent against and 42 per cent in favour, with a turnout of 68 per cent.
The junior doctors’ leader behind the recent strikes announced his resignation yesterday after medics voted to reject a compromise deal negotiated with ministers. Despite calls from Johann Malawana, chairman of the British Medical Association’s junior doctors committee, to accept the proposed contract, 58 per cent of members voted against it. It is the second time that a deal over working hours and pay with the government has been rejected and raises the possibility of further industrial action from the 20,000 doctors who oppose the new terms — although appetite for further strikes is thought to be waning.