Tony Blair in favour of Iraq war year before conflict - memo

A previously secret memo has given an insight into Tony Blair’s talks with US president George Bush in the run-up to the Iraq War.
Tony Blair. Picture: PATony Blair. Picture: PA
Tony Blair. Picture: PA

The document, written by American secretary of state Colin Powell a year before the 2003 invasion, suggested the Prime Minister had signalled he “will be with us should military operations be necessary”.

According to the Mail on Sunday, Mr Powell wrote: “Blair continues to stand by you and the US as we move forward on the war on terrorism and on Iraq ...

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“Blair knows he may have to pay a political price for supporting us on Iraq, and wants to minimise it.

“Nonetheless he will stick with us on the big issues.”

A spokesman for Mr Blair told the newspaper the memo’s content was consistent with what he had said publicly before.

The ex-premier told the Chilcot Inquiry that Mr Bush would have understood he was ready to support military action if the diplomatic route was exhausted.

The briefing note, prepared for Mr Bush in March 2002 ahead of his Crawford summit with Mr Blair later that year, emerged after a court ruling in the US led to the publication of thousands of emails received by Hillary Clinton.