I am glad Boris has come out today with regret for voting for the war in Iraq. Those who believed in it then do have to explain what they thought so at the time, and what can be learned from the mistake. If only more Labour figures would do so, as they were in government, they sustained Tony Blair as PM, and they provided the necessary support for the war. How do senior Labour figures today respond to Mr Blair’s new long essay of self justification? Conservative support made no difference to the outcome and had no impact on the decision.
I remember well arguing with Iain Duncan Smith not to support the war. I wanted the Conservatives to be whipped to oppose it, as I thought it was likely to miscarry at the time. I did not think the PM would spin about weapons of mass destruction given the seriousness of the issues at stake, so I could see why so many thought we should do something. I was concerned about how we would settle Iraq once victorious and how we would secure the weaponry without accident.
My mistake was to vote with the party whip once I had lost the battle within the party to change its view. I have learned that you can be too loyal.