Durkan: Hand of history should be feeling somebody’s collar

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Londonderry MP Mark Durkan has said the publication of the Chilcot report isn’t a time for soundbites but has asked the Prime Minister David Cameron, whether or not, given its conclusions, “the hand of history should be feeling someone’s collar.”

Addressing Prime Minister David Cameron during yesterday’s House of Commons debate on the Iraq inquiry, Mr Durkan said: “Those of us who come to the report scandalised anew by the duplicity of presentation and the paucity of preparation on such grave matters must nevertheless remember most those who are acutely burdened today by their cruel sense of futility of sacrifice in terms of lives lost, lives devastated and lives changed.

“The Prime Minister has rightly emphasised that lessons need to be learnt, but we must be careful not to turn the report into a greywash by ​converting it into a syllabus about foresight in government and oversight in Parliament.

“This is not a day for soundbites, but does the Prime Minister not agree that the hand of history should be feeling someone’s collar?”

Mr Cameron replied: “I do not think it is a greywash or a whitewash or an anything elsewash. I think, from what I have seen so far, that this is a thorough effort in trying to understand the narrative of the events, the decisions that were taken and the mistakes that were made. I think there is a huge amount to learn and everyone who has played a part in it has to take their responsibility for it.”

Meanwhile, People Before Profit MLA Eamonn McCann said the Chilcot report didn’t examine what he sees as the Iraq invasion’s underlying context: mineral resources.

“The Iraq war was about oil,” said Mr McCann. “The Chilcot Report shows that Tony Blair was entranced by George Bush. But he also had eyes for Iraq’s oil. It was the country’s misfortune to hold 10 percent of the world’s known reserves. Chilcot was strong on the shady politics of the war – but weak on the underlying motives.”