Tim Farron – 2016 Speech on the Chilcot Inquiry

timfarron

Below is the text of the speech made by Tim Farron, the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, in the House of Commons on 6 July 2016.

Today, we stand alongside the families of the 179 British servicemen and women and 24 British civilians who died in the Iraq war. We also stand beside the many more who continue to live with injuries sustained while serving their country in Iraq. We are proud of them and we honour them.

The Chilcot report makes clear the absolute determination of the former Prime Minister Mr Tony Blair to pursue war in Iraq, no matter what the evidence. There is a stark contrast between that single-minded determination to go to war and the reckless and complete absence of any plan for what would come next. What came next was 179 British servicemen and women killed, as well as 100,000, or more, Iraqi civilians. What came next was the fuelling of what is now ISIS-Daesh, which threatens not only Iraq but the middle east and the safety of us all.

In 2003, the much missed Charles Kennedy said in this House:

“The big fear that many of us have is that the action will simply breed further generations of suicide bombers.”—[Official Report, 18 March 2003; Vol. 401, c. 786.]

Will the Prime Minister now take the opportunity on behalf of his party and this House to acknowledge that Charles Kennedy was right all along in leading opposition across the country to a counterproductive war? Should not those who accused Charles Kennedy of appeasement—some of whom are still on these Benches—apologise to him, his family, our servicemen and women, our country, and the people of Iraq?