What Jeremy Corbyn was doing just before the Iraq War happened

Louis Dor
Tuesday 05 July 2016 11:10
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Picture: Rex Features

The Chilcot Report into the 2003 Iraq War is due to be released on Wednesday, six days after the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. It is expected to be highly critical of Tony Blair's government and some of the military actions undertaken.

In the month prior to the British government's decision to commit ground troops to the conflict, protesters took to the streets in London to march against the growing likelihood of joining the US's invasion of Iraq.

It was the largest demonstration of its kind in British political history, and now-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn spoke to the masses assembled at Hyde Park on 15 February 2003.

In the light of the fact weapons of mass destruction were never found and the turmoil that has engulfed the country since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, his words are sobering today:

There is no justice whatssever in the planned war against Iraq.

For those who say this is a necessary and just conflict , because it will bring about peace and security - September 11 was a dreadful event. 8,000 deaths in Afghanistan brought back none of those who died in the World Trade Center.

Thousands more deaths in Iraq will not make things right, it will set off the spiral of conflict, of misery, of hate, of desperation, that will fuel the wars, the conflict, the terrorism, the depression, and the misery of future generations.

This movement is giving that message to the British government: stop now or pay the political price.

Watch the full video, below:

On 26 February 2003 the backbench MP for Islington North would vote in the House of Commons to oppose the Iraq War, rebelling against his party, saying the case for military action was as yet unproven.

On 18 March of the same year he would vote against the case for war and against the declaration of war, again rebelling.

Corbyn said during his 2015 campaign to become Labour leader that he was convinced the war in Iraq was illegal and that anyone who had committed a crime should be put on trial:

If [Tony Blair has] committed a war crime, yes. Everyone who's committed a war crime should be [charged].

I think it was an illegal war, I'm confident about that, indeed Kofi Annan confirmed it was an illegal war, and therefore he has to explain to that.

Corbyn has faced a leadership coup since the result of the EU referendum last month, which SNP MP and former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond hinted was linked to the forthcoming Chilcot Report.

Corbyn lost a vote of no confidence 172-40 among his MPs last week, and recent reports suggest seven of those MPs who supported him have since abandoned their position.

The Chilcot Report will be published Wednesday 6 July 2016.

More: Corbyn loses no confidence motion: The problem with the Labour party - in five charts

More: Do you know which of today's politicians voted for the Iraq war?

More: How British attitudes to the Iraq War changed over 12 years

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