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UK News

More than 'regrets' needed by Labour over Iraq, says Christian anti-war campaigner as Jeremy Corbyn plans to say sorry

by Desmond Busteed

Jeremy Corbyn has said if he is elected Labour leader he'll apologise on behalf of the party for taking Britain into war in Iraq.

The unlikely frontrunner said if he wins the contest he will issue a formal apology on behalf of Labour which led the country into the 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent conflict under Tony Blair.

Mr Corbyn, who fiercely opposed the war at the time, said Mr Blair had taken Britain into the conflict "on the basis of deception" and that his decision to support then-US president George W Bush in a joint invasion had cost Labour millions of voters.

In a statement to the Guardian, Mr Corbyn said: "It is past time that Labour apologised to the British people for taking them into the Iraq war on the basis of deception and to the Iraqi people for the suffering we have helped cause. Under our Labour, we will make this apology."

"If a major country like ours does something which is really out of order, then it's more than regrets, it should be an apology and I think that is what Corbyn has done. I think it's quite a positive thing to do," Bruce Kent, Christian peace campaigner and vice-president of the Movement for the Abolition of War said on Premier's News Hour.

"Most people now think the Iraq war was a disaster; that's right outside the Labour party. So I think that an apology will be for most people, will be ok. Some people will think it's a bit pretentious because Corbyn didn't vote for the war, but I think on the whole it'll go down well," added Mr Kent.

Corbyn's rival Yvette Cooper has called the war "wrong" while Andy Burnham has referred to it as "an incredibly difficult period" but said respect should be given to those who made difficult decisions.

Liz Kendall was not an MP at the time Parliament voted to take action but has been quoted as saying the "ghost of Iraq has haunted politicians in this country" across the political spectrum.

So far Ed Miliband has gone the furthest in apologising on behalf of Labour, saying in 2010 it had been "wrong" to go to war.

Listen to Bruce Kent, Christian peace campaigner and vice-president of the Movement for the Abolition of War speaking to Premier's Marcus Jones on the News Hour:

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