29/Jul/2014 - Last News Update: 15:06

Labour candidates Balls and Miliband criticise Iraq war

Category: Politics

Published: 21st May 2010 23:38:07

Two of the candidates attempting to become the next Labour leader have criticised the decision to invade Iraq.

Ed Balls, the former children's secretary, told the Daily Telegraph the war was "wrong" and "a mistake".

And in an interview with the Guardian former energy secretary Ed Miliband said the way the decision to go to war was taken "led to a catastrophic loss of trust in Labour".

The result of Labour's leadership contest will be known on 25 September.

The other candidates for leadership are Diane Abbott, Andy Burnham, John McDonnell and Ed Miliband's brother, David, who was an MP at the time of the invasion of Iraq and voted for it.

Mr Balls said that, based on the information made available, "we shouldn't have prosecuted the war".

He added: "We shouldn't have changed our argument from international law to regime change in a non-transparent way. It was an error for which we as a country paid a heavy price, and for which many people paid with their lives.

"Saddam Hussein was a horrible man, and I am pleased he is no longer running Iraq. But the war was wrong."

Ed Milliband, the former energy and climate change secretary, said the basis for going to war was Saddam Hussein's potential possession of weapons of mass destruction.

"Therefore that is why I felt the weapons inspectors should have been given more time to find out whether he had those weapons, and Hans Blix - the head of the UN weapons inspectorate - was saying that he wanted to be given more time," Mr Miliband said.

"The combination of not giving the weapons inspectors more time, and then the weapons not being found, I think for a lot of people it led to a catastrophic loss of trust for us, and we do need to draw a line under it."

Mr Miliband, who was not an MP at the time of the invasion of Iraq, said because the basis for the war "turned out not to be correct", the decision to prosecute it was "a big loss of trust for us".

He added: "What I am not saying is that the war was undertaken for the wrong motives but what I am very clear about is what my position was at the time and the way I look at it in retrospect."

The BBC's Mike Sergeant said the race to ditch the baggage of the Blair/Brown years was moving on apace for Labour's leadership contenders.

"For Labour members, the invasion of Iraq in 2003 remains one of the least popular decisions," our correspondent said.

Speaking in March at the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war, David Miliband said: "I voted for the war because I think that the defiance by Saddam of the UN was itself a danger to international peace and security and the authority of the UN had to be upheld."

Source:
BBC News External Link Show Citation

Latest News

Harvard Citation

BBC News, 2010. Labour candidates Balls and Miliband criticise Iraq war [Online] (Updated 21st May 2010)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/61561/Labour-candidates-Balls-and-Miliband-criticise-Iraq-war [Accessed 29th Jul 2014]

News In Other Categories

  • Bristol Academy extends reach overseas with first foreign students

    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
  • Android Fake ID bug exposes smartphones and tablets

    An Android flaw has been uncovered that lets malware insert malicious code into other apps, gain access to the user's credit card data and take control of the device's settings.
  • Glasgow 2014: Gayle Lloyd and Elena Johnson progress

    Guernsey's Elena Johnson and Gayle Lloyd are through to the last 32 in the badminton women's singles at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
  • Edinburgh's Palmerston Place reopens following chemical alert

    A residential street in Edinburgh has reopened following a chemical incident in a house.
  • North Shields man who died after jumping in sea is named

    A man who died after jumping into the sea in North Tyneside has been named.
  • James Shigeta, Die Hard co-star, dies aged 81

    James Shigeta, one of the first prominent Asian-American actors in the early 1960s who memorably appeared in 1988 film Die Hard, has died aged 81.