TAM Dalyell said yesterday that the former prime minister Tony Blair should be tried for war crimes over his decision to authorise the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Speaking at the Edinburgh Book Festival, the veteran Labour politician suggested that Mr Blair should be sent to the International Criminal Court in the Hague, where individuals are held to account when accused of war crimes.
During a session to publicise his autobiography The Importance of Being Awkward, the former Father of the House of Commons underlined his deep disapproval of Mr Blair’s decision to go to war based on a so-called “dodgy dossier”.
Mr Dalyell revealed that the only reason he had shied away from signing up to the SNP and Plaid Cymru’s bid to have Mr Blair tried for war crimes was that his Labour colleagues advised him that doing so would detract from the issue.
“Almost the most difficult decision that I ever had to take in public life was when I got a letter from one of the Welsh nationalists – the secretary of Welsh and Scottish nationalist group,” Mr Dalyell said.
“They asked me would I put my signature and join them in suggesting that Tony Blair should go to the Hague. I was very tempted to do so. The reason I didn’t was that I was begged by Labour colleagues… who had been vehemently against the Iraq War who said ‘for God’s sake Tam don’t do this. Otherwise the whole argument will not be on the issue but on your treachery to the Labour Party’, so I didn’t.”
Mr Dalyell added: “Without question I think that TB should go to the Hague. The reason above all others is that it is criminal to twist intelligence as he did and knowingly twist it. Any man who has Alastair Campbell in Downing Street is not fit to be prime minister.”
Mr Blair and his spin doctor Mr Campbell have always denied “sexing up” evidence to make a case for the invasion by suggesting Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
Mr Dalyell also emphasised his opposition to Scottish independence.