Iraq War inquiry will reveal Bush-Blair deal, says Corbyn

Iraq War inquiry will reveal Bush-Blair deal, says Corbyn
The UK's long awaited inquiry into the Iraq War will be released in early July, with possible implications for former British leader Tony Blair.
2 min read
18 May, 2016
Jeremy Corbyn is a long standing critic of Tony Blair's foreign policy [Getty]
British opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has claimed that the long-delayed inquiry into the 2003 Iraq War will reveal that a secret deal took place between former UK prime minister Tony Blair and his US counterpart George W. Bush. 

"The Chilcot report will come out in a few weeks’ time and tell us what we need to know, what I think we already know," Corbyn told a gathering in London on Tuesday.

"There were no weapons of mass destruction, there was no ability to attack within 45 minutes and a deal had been done with Bush in advance," he continued.

As a backbencher in Tony Blair's Labour government, Corbyn was one of the staunchest opponents of the UK's decision to invade Iraq, and has in the past said that his former leader should be tried for war crimes if he had broken any laws.

The report, led by Sir John Chilcot, is set to be released on July 6, after the inquiry commenced over seven years ago in November 2009.

Last year, families of British soldiers who were killed in the war threatened legal action for the delay of the report's publication. A total of 179 British soldiers were killed in Iraq between 2003 and 2010.

Tony Blair
Tony Blair could face impeachment or trial if the
Chilcot report reveals any wrongdoing [AFP]
Possible consequences

If it is revealed on July 6 that Blair had committed some wrongdoing in his decision to pursue war, there may be grounds for some members of parliament to revive efforts to impeach the former prime minister, or even take him to the International Criminal Court.

"If, as I believe... Chilcot finds that there was a prior commitment from Blair to [George W.] Bush at Crawford ranch in 2002, that would provide the reason for pursuing the matter further," Former Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond told The Times.

"My own view is that the best route would be to use the ICC because the prosecutor is able to initiate action on his or her own behalf on presentation of a body of evidence, which Chilcot would provide."

With the Labour Party now under Jeremy Corbyn, a veteran left-winger and anti-war campaigner, the release of Chilcot's report also has the potential to throw the fractured centre-left party into further disarray.

While opposition to Blair's invasion was voiced from across party lines, supporters of the former PM still form a strong bloc within the Labour Party, and have been vocal about their disapproval of Corbyn.