Charles Kennedy Was Right On Iraq

In 2003 the then leader of the Liberal Democrats, the late, great Charles Kennedy was one of only a few voices in Parliament speaking out against the Iraq war. He said:

"The big fear that many of us have is that the action will simply breed further generations of suicide bombers."

He was attacked and vilified, with a particularly horrible Sun front page comparing him to a snake. With the release of the Chilcot report this week he was proved right beyond doubt, if the last thirteen years hadn't proven it enough already.

Tim Farron made a speech to Parliament in response to the Chilcot report, in which he asked MPs to apologise to him as well as to our servicemen and women, our country and the people of Iraq.

The full text of his speech:

"Today, we stand alongside the families of the 179 British servicemen and women and 24 British civilians who died in the Iraq war. We also stand beside the many more who continue to live with injuries sustained while serving their country in Iraq. We are proud of them and we honour them.

"The Chilcot report makes clear the absolute determination of the former Prime Minister Mr Tony Blair to pursue war in Iraq, no matter what the evidence. There is a stark contrast between that single-minded determination to go to war and the reckless and complete absence of any plan for what would come next. What came next was 179 British servicemen and women killed, as well as 100,000, or more, Iraqi civilians. What came next was the fuelling of what is now ISIS-Daesh, which threatens not only Iraq but the middle east and the safety of us all.

"In 2003, the much missed Charles Kennedy said in this House:

'The big fear that many of us have is that the action will simply breed further generations of suicide bombers.'

"Will the Prime Minister now take the opportunity on behalf of his party and this House to acknowledge that Charles Kennedy was right all along in leading opposition across the country to a counterproductive war? Should not those who accused Charles Kennedy of appeasement—some of whom are still on these Benches—apologise to him, his family, our servicemen and women, our country, and the people of Iraq?"

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