Tony Blair has begun giving evidence for the first time in public on the reasons why he led Britain into war with Iraq.
The former British prime minister told the inquiry that the UK and the United States had been trying for years to enforce sanctions and stepped up their efforts after the 9/11 attacks.
“Here’s what changed for me the whole calculus of risk. It was my view then, it remains my view now. The point about this terrorist act was that over 3000 people had been killed on the streets of New York – an absolutely horrific event. After that time, my view was: you could not take risks with this issue at all. And one dimension of it, because we were advised, obviously, that these people would use chemical or biological weapons, or a nuclear device, if they could get hold of them… that completely changed our assessment of where the risks for security lay. And, just so we make this absolutely clear: this was not an American position; this was my position and the British position.”
Blair will be questioned for six hours on the build-up to the 2003 invasion and its aftermath with controversial government dossiers justifying action expected to further scrutinized and discussed.