SNP: Let public see Chilcot report before election

Jim Murphy backed the government in the divisive vote on Iraq in 2003 in which 129 Labour MPs rebelled. Picture: John Devlin

Jim Murphy backed the government in the divisive vote on Iraq in 2003 in which 129 Labour MPs rebelled. Picture: John Devlin

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THE CHILCOT Report on the Iraq war must be published before the general election to allow Scots to make an informed decision about Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy and MPs who backed the conflict, the SNP has demanded.

It is now over five years since the inquiry led by Sir John Chilcot started to take evidence and a date has yet to be set for its publication.

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Mr Murphy was unexpectedly elected to the Renfrewshire seat of Eastwood in Tony Blair’s Labour landslide in 1997, and backed the government in the divisive vote on Iraq in 2003 in which 129 Labour MPs rebelled.

Labour’s 2015 election campaign is being co-ordinated by Paisley MP Douglas Alexander, who backed the war in 2003 and was later appointed to the Blair cabinet.

A quarter of the current crop of Scottish Labour MPs backed the war although some have announced their intention to stand down in May, including former senior cabinet members Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling.

Polls indicate Labour could be reduced to a rump in Scotland following a surge in support for the SNP after the No vote in the independence referendum.

SNP election co-ordinator Angus Robertson believes the Chilcot Report could add to Labour’s woes if it is published before the election.

“It would be inconceivable to go into a general election year still not knowing the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry,” he said.

“The case for its publication is now made all the more imperative given the Labour Party in Scotland is led by a Westminster MP who voted for the Iraq war.

“The illegal invasion of Iraq is a scandal without parallel in modern times, and - more than a decade later - the war and its consequences continue to cast a long shadow.

“No-one can seriously claim that peace and security in Iraq itself, the Middle East region or the world as a whole have been improved as a result of the war.

“The findings of this inquiry have been delayed and blocked disgracefully for five years.

“The people of Scotland and the UK as a whole deserve to know the truth about how Westminster and Tony Blair’s Labour Government operated in the lead up to this terrible war before they cast their vote next May, and we must have full publication before then.

“The invasion is estimated to have cost the lives of up to at least 120,000 innocent civilians - and there were almost 5,000 coalition military fatalities, including almost 200 military deaths among UK forces personnel.

“The Iraq War cost the MoD more than £8 billion. The illegal invasion and war in Iraq was a disgrace. People deserve full disclosure about how Westminster operated in the lead up to this disastrous war.”

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