LESSONS must be learned from the damning report into the handling of the Iraq War.
That’s the message from Portsmouth MPs, who have have been reacting to the statement released today.
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, armed forces minister, said: ‘I listened to Chilcot statement today, and my first thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives and were injuries in this conflict.
‘They have waited a long time for this, too long.
‘I have offered to meet with any next of kin who wish to speak to a defence Minister.
‘We must ensure that every lesson from Chilcot is learnt. Our national security governance, ‘Parliamentary oversight and defence reforms have vastly improved things, but we must always look for further improvements. Committing our armed forces to an armed combat is a most grave decision and there can be no compromise on the quality of that decision making or the quality of the planning and support for those we put in harms way.’
Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond said: ‘I was always opposed to the invasion of Iraq in 2003. ‘At that time, we were still heavily engaged in the conflict with the rebels in Afghanistan, and the added campaign stretched our forces. I was also doubtful about the evidence that Saddam posed a threat through the use of weapons of mass destruction.
‘There was a lot of debate about whether the US and UK had exhausted the diplomatic means of pressurising Saddam to comply with international law. Sir John Chilcot has said that the policy was made on the basis of “flawed intelligence and assessments” which should have been challenged in government, but were not.
‘It quickly became apparent after Saddam lost power that not enough planning had been done to reconstruct the government or to control the internal terrorist threat. Far too many lives have been lost, and are still being lost today, because of the breakdown all those years ago.
‘I have not yet had a chance to examine the report in detail, but the headline conclusions back up the suspicions so many people had about the way the invasion was carried out.
‘It is a real lesson for us today, and when we debate issues about military action in Parliament it is something I think about very carefully.’