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Summary

  1. UK went to war before peaceful options exhausted and military action was "not last resort", Chilcot report says
  2. Invasion in 2003 was based on “flawed intelligence and assessments” that went unchallenged
  3. Threat posed by Iraq's weapons of mass destruction were "presented with certainty that was not justified"
  4. Former PM Tony Blair says decision for action made "in good faith" and he takes "full responsibility for any mistakes"
  5. Families of Britons killed during Iraq War say conflict was "a fiasco" and do not rule out legal action
  6. PM David Cameron says "lessons must be learned" and announces two-day Commons debate next week
  7. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says war was "act of military aggression launched on a false pretence"

Live Reporting

By Mario Cacciottolo, Emma Atkinson, Alex Kleiderman and Lauren Turner

All times stated are UK

Recap: Publication of the Chilcot report

We're finishing our live page coverage, following the publication of the Chilcot report into the Iraq War earlier today. 

Sir John Chilcot said - in the report that was years in the making and comes to more than 2m words - that then prime minister Tony Blair's government overstated the threat of Saddam Hussein, sent ill-prepared troops into battle and did not have adequate plans for its aftermath. 

Mr Blair has apologised for any mistakes made, but not for the decision to go to war. 

Prime Minister David Cameron said it was important to "really learn the lessons for the future", saying that "sending our brave troops on to the battlefield without the right equipment was unacceptable". 

A spokesman for some of the families of the 179 British servicemen and women killed in Iraq during the conflict said their relatives died "unnecessarily and without just cause and purpose".

You can scroll down for updates as they happened - or click on these links for more information: 

You can read our main story here as well as keep up to date with any further developments on the BBC News channel. 

The report can be downloaded on the Iraq Inquiry website.

Keir Starmer: 'Chilcot report is damning'

The Guardian

Keir Starmer
BBC

Labour MP and former director of public prosecutions Keir Starmer writes in the Guardian that the lessons learned from the Chilcot inquiry should be enshrined in law. 

He writes:

The Chilcot report is damning. It exposes a litany of failures over a long period, including reliance on flawed intelligence assessments, lack of planning and insufficient foresight of obvious consequences. But the report also exposes a chilling lack of rigour and a political culture of deference.

He says a "robust and agreed framework, underpinned in law" is needed before the UK engages in any future military action. 

Mr Starmer adds:

A properly evidenced and robust legal basis should be a minimum requirement; as should a fully prepared, realistic and risk-assessed plan. The absence of the former is why I opposed the Iraq war in 2003; the absence of the latter why I voted against military action in Syria in 2015.

He concludes by saying he hopes divisions can "start to heal" now and that "we can start to ensure similar mistakes will not be repeated".

Blair: An honest plea, or a performance?

The Daily Telegraph

Tony Blair
AFP/Getty

Michael Deacon, parliamentary sketchwriter at the Daily Telegraph, says that Tony Blair looked "a broken man" when he spoke earlier today, following the publication of the Chilcot report.

But he adds:

What to make of it all? An honest plea for understanding from a broken man? Or a performance, an immaculately executed impersonation of one?

This is his trouble. If people don’t believe he was honest in taking the country to war, they won’t believe he’s honest in anything. He will always be under suspicion, no matter what he says, and no matter how he sounds when he says it. That suspicion will be with him, whatever."

International New York Times: Chilcot unsparing of Blair

A photograph of Tony Blair addressing reporters after the publication of the Chilcot report appears on the front page of Thursday's edition of the International New York Times.  

The paper's headline says the report was "unsparing" of the former prime minister. 

Its findings "amounted to a moment of searing public accountability for Mr Blair, who perhaps even more than Mr Bush has been defined in his own country almost entirely, and almost entirely negatively, for his decision to go into Iraq alongside the United States", it says.

International New York Times front page for 07/07/16
International New York Times

Bereaved father: Blair should face court action

Press Association

Peter Brierley
PA

The father of a soldier killed serving in the Iraq War has called for Tony Blair to face court action in the wake of the Chilcot Report.

Lance Corporal Shaun Brierley, 28, from 1 (UK) Armoured Division HQ & Signal Regiment, died in a road accident in Iraq in March 2003.

Peter Brierley, 65, said his son had believed he was protecting the country's security before he died - but had he survived he would have joined families and veterans at the release of the long-awaited Iraq Inquiry report on Wednesday.

And he said the next step for the families and campaigners was to seek legal action. He told the Press Association:  

I've done this for 13 years - my son died 13 years ago - and I would like Tony Blair to be taken to court, to stand in court.

I have said all along if they put him in court, he stands in the dock and they hear all the evidence and the judge says not guilty, that is a verdict that I couldn't agree with - I just can't see that he's not guilty - but it's one that I would have to accept. I've argued for so long that that's what needs to happen.

That would be closure because I've always said I'm looking forward to the day when I can stop doing this, I can go home, I can put the television on, get my cup of tea, sit back and say to my wife - that's it, I've done all I can.

Blair support for US 'not unconditional'

Pat McFadden, an adviser to Tony Blair at the time of the Iraq War, told the BBC it was wrong to say the prime minister had given unconditional support to US President George W Bush over Iraq.

"All the effort from the British end was to persuade the Americans to go down the UN route - to broaden the coalition and the basis for any possible action," he said.

Mr McFadden, who was elected as Labour MP for Wolverhampton South East in 2005, added: "Much of the discussions of the consequence of the Iraq War has been in such a way that it seems like history began in 2003 - that all the extremist violence we've seen in the Middle East and elsewhere stemmed from that. 

"It's important to stress that is not the case. We had 9/11 two years before this, we had Bali and we also had Saddam's regime which had indulged in horrific killing of its own population."

Pat McFadden
BBC

Some Chilcot criticism justified - US diplomat Bremer

The US diplomat, who who administered the coalition provisional authority after the Iraq War, has accepted several criticisms made in the Chilcot report but maintains that "history will agree that it was the correct, if difficult decision to remove Saddam".

In an article for the Guardian, Paul Bremer says pre-invasion planning was “inadequate” and agrees the coalition “never got on top of security”.

But he says he does not share the report's assumption that a “strategy of containment” of Saddam Hussein was adequate or criticism of moves to remove senior Ba’ath party officials from government posts after the war.

Paul Bremer in 2004
AP

Most in Iraq 'made minds up about invasion long ago' - Jeremy Bowen

Jeremy Bowen

BBC Middle East editor

Iraqis are preoccupied with Eid al Fitr, the festival that marks the end of Ramadan - and with survival. Not with the Chilcot report. 

Most people made their minds up about the invasion long ago. I've met only one man who thinks they're better off because of it. 

A group of men I interviewed outside Baghdad's main Sunni mosque despaired at the violence and lack of personal security - and echoed a warning that Chilcot says was ignored by Number 10, about Iran pursuing its interests in Iraq if its enemy Saddam Hussein fell.

Crispin Blunt says he feels misled

Crispin Blunt
BBC

Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Crispin Blunt told the BBC the report would be "invaluable" for learning lessons.

He said he had been "entirely convinced" by the case made by former prime minister Tony Blair at the time. 

But he added: 

As an ex-soldier, I thought it was ridiculous we were having this debate when my former colleagues were in the process of putting their camouflage cream on and going through the final battle procedure before crossing the start line at six in the morning following our vote.

He described that situation as "ludicrous", adding: "If Parliament was going to be invited to make this decision, it needed to make it considerably in advance."

Mr Blunt, who voted in favour of the war, added that he felt "misled" by "the way in which the intelligence was made to fit the assessment the prime minister wanted to present". 

Report released on George W Bush's birthday

Tony Blair and George W Bush
AFP

The Chilcot report includes many memos sent between George W Bush and Tony Blair.

In one of them, Mr Blair assures Mr Bush of his support, telling him: "I will be with you, whatever...". 

The former US president, who turned 70 on Wednesday, was spending the day cycling with wounded veterans. 

Straw: 'Difficult decisions were made in good faith'

Here is some more from Jack Straw's statement, following the publication of the Chilcot report. 

The Labour former foreign secretary said the inquiry did not claim that Parliament and the public were wilfully misled about the intelligence regarding weapons of mass destruction - or that the decision to take military action was unlawful. 

Difficult decisions were made in good faith, based on the evidence available at the time - and only after strenuous efforts had been made by me and many others, across the international community, to pursue a diplomatic resolution and avoid military conflict.

He added that he had worked "ceaselessly" to try to gain agreement on a second United Nations Security Council Resolution, which, he believed, could have led to war being averted.

My profound concern at that time was that, given the threat to international peace and security which the Security Council had declared in respect of Iraq only four months previously, if no military action was taken international resolve would progressively weaken, and the threat from Saddam Hussein to his own people and neighbouring countries would become much greater.

Margaret Beckett 'did not feel duped'

Margaret Beckett
BBC

Margaret Beckett, a former cabinet minister under Tony Blair, said she did not feel duped or deceived by the former prime minister's case to go to war in Iraq.

She said that "what the prime minister said to cabinet is what he genuinely believed" and that it was "pretty much what every other intelligence service believed at the time". 

George Bush: 'Whole world is better off without Saddam Hussein'

George W Bush
Getty Images

Former US president George W Bush's spokesman has made a statement following the publication of the Chilcot report. 

His communications director Freddy Ford said: 

President Bush is hosting wounded warriors at his ranch today and has not had the chance to read the Chilcot report.

Despite the intelligence failures and other mistakes he has acknowledged previously, President Bush continues to believe the whole world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power.

He is deeply grateful for the service and sacrifice of American and coalition forces in the war on terror. And there was no stronger ally than the United Kingdom under the leadership of [then] Prime Minister Tony Blair. President Bush believes we must now find the unity and resolve to stay on the offensive and defeat radical extremism wherever it exists.

David Blunkett: Government made 'enormous effort' to get second resolution approved by UN

Labour former home secretary David Blunkett says he accepts his share of responsibility for the decision to go to war in Iraq.

Responding to the Chilcot report in the House of Lords, the Labour peer said the government had made "an enormous effort" to get a second resolution approved by the UN. 

He said it would be "perverse in the extreme" if, in future, the UK wasn't able to join its allies, "because our action was vetoed by Vladimir Putin, at a moment when he himself is bombing civilians in Syria without any process or authorisation sought by this government and the previous government". 

The deputy leader of the Lords, Lord Howe, told peers that it wasn't just Russia which had opposed the second resolution, but he said the Russians were "extremely unhelpful and uncooperative at that time". 

Alex Salmond: 'Parliamentary action could be taken against Blair'

Alex Salmond
Getty Images

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond has said on his LBC radio show that he believes parliamentary action could be taken against Tony Blair. 

I'm open minded about what it should be. There have been talks between MPs across the parties. We wanted to see the report first, we'll be meeting over the next few days.

It's going to take people time to assimilate all the information in the report but I favour such action. I favour a means of parliamentary accountability because I don't believe that these things can just be sorted out by saying we will improve the intelligence gathering, we'll restore cabinet government, we'll have a sequence of decision making.

At the end of the day these were decisions made by a human being and that prime minister was Tony Blair.

Armed forces fatalities in Iraq remembered

There were 179 servicemen and women killed during the campaign that followed the invasion of Iraq on 20 March 2003.  

Here are the names and details of all the fatalities. 

Poppies of remembrance for soldiers killed in Iraq
BBC

Chilcot report: Top story on German websites

BBC Monitoring

The Chilcot report is the top story on the websites of the heavyweight newspapers in Germany, with Die Welt and others leading on the conclusion that the decision to go to war was "premature".

The popular tabloid Bild highlights the conclusion that Tony Blair "exaggerated the danger" posed by Iraq. 

Public television channel Das Erste has its own correspondent's report from London, also leading on the "premature" angle and devoting a section to "exaggerated claims about WMD".

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily says the report's verdict is "devastating" on a decision to go to war that was "poorly planned, totally inadequate and barely legal".

Left-wing Tageszeitung condemns the decision to go to war as "hasty, belligerent and haphazard".

Corbyn: 'Those responsible must face up to consequences'

Mr Corbyn says he has apologised to the families of the servicemen and women killed for the actions of his party. 

He also says that those responsible for the war must face up to the consequences.   

In his statement the Labour leader says his party have learned lessons and that he wants a "different" type of foreign policy, where war is the absolute last resort.

The decision to go to war has been a "stain" on his party and the country, Mr Corbyn adds.

Corbyn: War 'fuelled terrorism'

Jeremy Corbyn
BBC

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says that the Iraq War fuelled terrorism around the world. 

He stresses that opponents of the war were not apologists for Saddam Hussein, and says that he wishes the majority of MPs had listened to the wisdom of those who protested. 

Jeremy Corbyn: Iraq War was 'catastrophe'

Jeremy Corbyn is now making a statement. 

He says the Iraq War was "by any measure, a catastrophe". 

The decision to invade Iraq in 2003 based on what the Chilcot report called "flawed intelligence" had a "far-reaching impact on us all" and led to a "fundamental breakdown" in trust in politics, the Labour leader says. 

What Blair said to Bush in memos

George W Bush and Tony Blair in 2001
AP

Memos sent between former UK PM Tony Blair and then US President George W Bush in the run-up to the Iraq War shine a light on the relationship between the two leaders.

George W Bush and Tony Blair in 2001

What Blair said to Bush in memos

Memos sent between former UK PM Tony Blair and then US President George W Bush in the run-up to the Iraq War shine a light on the relationship between the two leaders.

Read more

Liberty: 'Findings are comprehensively damning'

Martha Spurrier, director of rights group Liberty, said that "the impartial findings of the Chilcot inquiry panel are comprehensively damning - of the then prime minister and his cabinet colleagues and our intelligence agencies."

She adds:

Basic adherence to the rule of law, evidence-based policy making and the protection of human rights came second to egos, ideology and political grandstanding. The resulting failure to plan for the aftermath of war led to the deaths of more than a million people and grave human rights violations on a massive scale that continue to the present day.

She said the Chilcot report "must mark a turning point - an end to UK government ministers' systematic and cynical demotion of human rights". 

Chilcot report 'damning' for Blair - Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon
Reuters

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has branded the Iraq Inquiry report by Sir John Chilcot as "damning" of former Prime Minister Tony Blair. 

Speaking to the BBC she said: 

This report is damning. It's damning of Tony Blair and the decision making process that led to war in Iraq.

She went on to argue that questions remain now on how there will be accountability for what happened. 

What I think is absolutely clear at this stage is there has to be some sense of accountability… given the consequences of the Iraq War are still being felt by Iraq and the Middle East.' I listened to Sir John Chilcot this morning and struggled to think how Tony Blair could come to the conclusions he's come to today.

I can't get into Tony Blair's head... whether he knowingly misled parliament... what is clear... Parliament did not have all the information at its disposal that it should've had in reaching such a massive decision."

Watch: Bereaved sister says Blair 'is a terrorist'

Sarah O’Connor: "Tony Blair is a terrorist"

Chilcot makes headlines in France

BBC Monitoring

Major French news channels and press websites are focusing on Sir John Chilcot's conclusion that the UK decided to invade Iraq prematurely.

French Europe 1 radio describes the Chilcot report as "explosive".

Centre-left Le Monde notes that "as expected, Sir John was harsh in his judgment of Tony Blair" in an article headlined: "Official report describes a disastrous record of the British intervention in Iraq".

Conservative Le Figaro and left-wing Liberation both lead on the former prime minister's insistence that he had acted "in good faith" in response to the report.

L'Express magazine says Chilcot "accuses Blair" of sending in troops without exploring all peaceful options.

Sir Menzies Campbell: Blair judgement poor

Former Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell says the Chilcot report shows Mr Blair's judgement was poor.

"It was misconceived and it led to a vacuum in Iraq which has been filled by a civil war where 179 British soldiers died," he told the BBC.

But interviewed alongside him, Labour MP David Hansen said it was important to recognise that the inquiry found Mr Blair had been "acting in good faith on what appears now to be bad information and bad intelligence".

Sir Menzies Campbell
BBC

In pictures: Chilcot report released

Families of some of the soldiers who died watch a news conference after Sir John Chilcot released his report
Reuters
Families and friends of some of the soldiers who died watch a news conference after Sir John Chilcot released his report
The families of those who died in Iraq take part in a press conference
Reuters
The press conference, held by the families of military personnel who died in the war, was emotional at times
The Chilcot report
AP
The report itself is 2.6 million words long
Protesters outside the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre
EPA
A demonstration took place outside the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in London while Sir John Chilcot outlined his report
A composite image of the 179 UK troops that died during the conflict in Iraq
PA
An image showing the 179 UK military personnel who died during the conflict in Iraq

'Iraq and Middle East will stabilise' - Blair

During his press conference, Tony Blair said the decision to invade Iraq ultimately contributed to the struggle for political change across the Middle East:

Let's be clear about this decision. It cut with the grain of what's happening across the Middle East. And I believe by the way that Iraq will stabilise and the Middle East will stabilise. Because my analysis of what's going on in the Middle East is that it is one big struggle - to get rid of sectarian religious politics, and replace it with pluralistic, tolerant, religiously tolerant politics.

And it's about the desire for rule-based economies and not corrupt economies. Now I think those are two things people are struggling for all over the Middle East. Iraq under Saddam had no chance."