The legacy of the decision to go to war in Iraq is that the world is a more dangerous place, MP Alistair Carmichael argued in parliament today.
Speaking in the aftermath of the publication of the long-awaited Chilcot Inquiry into the decision Mr Carmichael said the inquiry report represented the “last chapter in a sorry episode of our country’s history”.
He said that the Liberal Democrats’ decision in 2003 to vote against the war had been vindicated. “That was not an easy decision but I have never doubted that it was the right one,” Mr Carmichael added.
The war and its aftermath had made the world a more dangerous place, he said.
“It has long been clear that this was a war into which we should never had entered and which has had enduring consequences for the Middle East and the west. As a result of that war we are less safe today than we have ever been.
“This was unnecessary. Parliament and government both failed the people and we shall pay the price for years to come. In the future it is essential that Parliament should have a proper understanding of intelligence material before it votes and every MP will have a duty to assess that evidence fairly and calmly before deciding how to vote.”
During parliamentary debate on the issue Mr Carmichael took the opportunity to again quiz David Cameron over the UK’s involvement in the rendering of terror suspects.
Mr Carmichael said: “Like the Prime Minister, I remember the debates of February and March 2003. We were both elected for the first time in 2001.
“What I remember is that many of the members then who asked questions and demanded evidence were heckled and barracked and shouted down. And I think when we have our debate on this report, it is right that, as well as scrutinising the conduct of others, this house should turn some of that scrutiny on itself.
“We now know that much of what purported to be evidence in 2003 was obtained by people who had been tortured having been illegally rendered. Will the Prime Minister give me an assurance that this country will never again base its foreign policy judgements on evidence or information obtained in that way?”
Mr Cameron replied that the issue had been “specifically addressed” during the Liberal Democrat-Conservative Party coalition “that we should not rely on or use in any way evidence that was delivered by means of torture.”