Admit you were wrong invading Iraq, Blair told


London : The mother of a British pilot killed in Basra has called on former prime minister Tony Blair to admit that he was wrong in leading Britain into the 2003 Iraq war.

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“He has got four children. He sent our sons and daughters and they died. It was wrong. He bears the major responsibility for that, along with (US President) Bush. But Bush is not an intelligent man — Tony Blair is,” said Deirdie Gover.

“I would like him to admit he was bloody well wrong,” Gover said ahead of the former prime minister giving evidence to the Iraq inquiry on Friday.

“I would like him to admit he deceived his cabinet, his government and the British people,” said the 63-year-old mother of Flight Lieutenant Kristian Gover, who died in a helicopter crash in 2004 after returning from a reconnaissance flight.

Many bereaved families of the 179 British soldiers killed in Iraq were joining a mass rally outside the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre in London Friday, calling on Blair to be held to account when he is questioned by the inquiry.

Gover said that she wanted the former premier to accept he sent British forces to their deaths for a “totally unjustified conflict,” but believed he was “never going to do that.”

“I believe [the inquiry] is totally well-intentioned, but Blair is not going to be held to account. He could wriggle out of anything — he is a very clever man,” she said.

In an interview with London’s Evening Standard, she was even cynical about his appearance at the inquiry, saying he was “making a fortune like some film stars” and maybe thinks “the more publicity the better.” She also questioned his religious beliefs.

A YouGov poll in the Sunday Times this month found that 52% of people believe Blair deliberately misled the country over the Iraq war and that 23% think he should be tried as a war criminal.

Colin Redpath, whose son Kirk, also died in Iraq, is another bereaved parent who believed the former British leader should be prosecuted if the inquiry finds he lied, but was doubtful it would ever happen.

“If you are found to be lying and have misled the British public, and we were taken into an illegal war, what I want to know is, will he be tried for this crime? If not, why have this inquiry?” Redpath said.