Miliband announces inquiry into Iraq war
Published: 25th Mar 2009 18:10:00
An inquiry into the Iraq war has finally been announced following years of pressure from opposition parties and anti-war groups.
The announcement came in an answer from foreign secretary David Miliband during a session in the Commons today.
Mr Miliband confirmed the inquiry would begin "as soon as practically possible" after July 31st, when the last British troops left in the country start to leave.
The government had previously claimed an inquiry into the controversial war was only suitable once British soldiers were on their way back to the UK.
As Gordon Brown said when he returned from visiting troops last December: "I have always said that this is a matter that we will consider once our troops have come home. We are not in that position at present, so it is not right to open the question now."
The government is not yet discussing the nature of the inquiry, or who will conduct it.
The Conservatives are calling for it to be carried out by a privy council – essentially ‘the great and the good’ – but the government is refusing to be drawn into the discussion, or the inquiry’s terms of reference.
Mr Miliband did, however, confirm it would be "comprehensive".
The announcement did little to paper over the cracks between the Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives though.
"The Labour government and Conservative party must not be allowed to stitch up the British public with the kind of narrow and secretive inquiry which would suit them both," said Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman Ed Davey.
"While the Liberal Democrats opposed this illegal and immoral war, the Tories failed in their duty as an opposition party by voting for it."
Just before the confirmation, shadow foreign secretary William Hague told Mr Miliband the Tories would make an inquiry one of their first acts if they came to power.
"We will learn the necessary lessons and what went wrong in the functioning of government itself," Mr Hague said.
The Foreign Office’s decision comes just days after the sixth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq by the US-led coalition.
Families of those who had died in the war, including Ms Gentle and Reg Keys, handed in a petition to Downing Street today calling for a public inquiry.
UK troop numbers will be reduced from 4,100 to 400 by the end of July.
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Harvard CitationBirmingham Wired, 2009. Miliband announces inquiry into Iraq war [Online] (Updated 25th Mar 2009)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/3216/Miliband-announces-inquiry-into-Iraq-war [Accessed 28th Aug 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com