Government rejects pleas for stronger checks to prevent repeat of Blair’s rush to war in Iraq

Government rejects pleas for stronger checks to prevent repeat of Blair’s rush to war in Iraq

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(The Independent) The Government has rejected MPs’ pleas for stronger checks to prevent future prime ministers from replicating Tony Blair’srush into the Iraq War.

Calls were made for greater safeguards on decisions of national importance after the Chilcot report into the 2003 invasion found the former Prime Minister had excluded senior colleagues from crucial judgements and bypassed officials when he told US President George Bush: “I will be with you, whatever.”

The Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) said it was “disappointed” that the Government had rebuffed key demands for greater scrutiny, after the MPs found that it was still “too easy for a prime minister to disregard cabinet procedures”.

PACAC said: “The committee is disappointed with the Government’s response given the clear evidence of the need for improvements to public inquiries and government decision-making that the committee received.

“It is particularly concerned about the Government’s failure to accept the case for stronger safeguards to ensure proper collective consideration by the Cabinet on decisions of national importance.”

A critical Commons report into lessons learnt from the Chilcot investigation originally warned that the Iraq War left an “indelible scar on British politics” and said that for many, “the Chilcot inquiry fails to provide closure on the Iraq issue”.

It also urged MPs to reflect on how Parliament “could have been more critical and challenging of the government at the time” and noted the “seriousness” of the case made by Dr Glen Rangwala, a Cambridge University politics lecturer, that Mr Blair “deliberately misled” the Commons.

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