Tony Blair faces legal action from family members of dead soldiers who served in the Iraq war, following publication of the 2.6 million word Chilcot report on Wednesday.
Families of the 179 personnel killed now have a legal basis in which to pursue a prosecution of the former Prime Minister, and have branded Tony Blair a “terrorist” and “war criminal”.
Matthew Jury, the lawyer for the families of the fallen, raised the prospect of legal action, saying how a “full and forensic review” of the 2.6 million word report’s content and conclusions would now be undertaken.
“If state officials are determined to have acted unlawfully or in excess of their powers, then the families will then decide on whether to take any necessary and appropriate action at the proper time. All options will be considered,” he said.
Rose Gentle from Glasgow, whose 19-year-old son, Gordon, a Royal Highland Fusilier, died when a bomb exploded under his Land Rover in Basra in June 2004, said the report meant Mr Blair had “got his comeuppance”.
Expressing satisfaction with its findings, she said: “I didn’t think we were going to get that verdict today but I’m really pleased. I hope Tony Blair goes to his bed and thinks: ‘What the hell have I done?’ because he will never be forgiven.”
Ms Gentle added: “He will be remembered not as a prime minister but as a person who sent them on an illegal war. I would love to see him in court.”
At Westminster, Alex Salmond seized on a remark made by Mr Blair in a memo to the then US President George W Bush eight months before the invasion, in which he said: “I will be with you whatever.”
The former First Minister said he did not understand, in light of that remark, how it was “in any way compatible with what was said to Parliament and people at the time”.
The Gordon MP added: “Is it not at the end of the day people who make decisions and, in our search for responsibility, wouldn’t it help if individuals responsible were held accountable?”