POLITICS

Tony Blair Should Be Impeached For Iraq War, Says Veteran Tory MP

18/06/2014 12:53 BST | Updated 18/06/2014 12:59 BST
Chris Jackson via Getty Images
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 17: Former Prime Minister Tony Blair leaves the Ceremonial funeral of former British Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher at St Paul's Cathedral on April 17, 2013 in London, England. Dignitaries from around the world today join Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh as the United Kingdom pays tribute to former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher during a Ceremonial funeral with military honours at St Paul's Cathedral. Lady Thatcher, who died last week, was the first British female Prime Minister and served from 1979 to 1990 (Photo by Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Tony Blair should be impeached by parliament for leading Britain to war in Iraq, a veteran Tory MP has said.

Sir Peter Tapsell, the longest serving MP in the Commons, said the rarely used power of parliament to punish people for "high crimes and misdemeanours" should be resurrected for use against the former Labour prime minister.

Speaking during prime minister's questions, the Louth and Horncastle MP said: "Is the prime minister aware of the growing sentiment that as the publication of the Chilcot report is been so long delayed the ancient but still existing of backbenchers to commence the procedures of impeachment should now be activated to bring Mr Tony Blair to account for allegedly misleading the House on the necessity of the invasion of Iraq in 2003."

David Cameron avoided answering the question directly, but said Ed Miliband and Labour were to blame for the delay in the publication of the Iraq inquiry report.

"It is important we see the result os of the Iraq inquiry," he said. "Frankly what I would say, is if the Iraq inquiry had started when this party and indeed when the Liberal Democrats suggested, actually we would have seen the iIraq inquiry published by now."

The impeachment of Blair is extremely unlikely even though the power technically still exists. Impeachment proceedings were last brought in 1806 when Lord Melville was charged by the Commons, but acquitted, of misappropriating official funds.

And in 1967 a parliamentary committee said even then the power was "so remote from the present that that the procedure may be considered obsolete".

In 2004 Plaid Cymru MP Adam Price tabled a motion calling for the impeachment of Blair for "gross misconduct in his advocacy of the case for war against Iraq". Price was supported by 22 other MPs including Alex Salmond and Boris Johnson.

Earlier this month former Labour foreign secretary Lord Owen, who now sits as a Lib Dem, said Blair with contempt of parliament for the way he took Britain to war in 2003. Writing in the Daily Mail, he said to do so would "draw a line under this inglorious period in our modern political history".

Cameorn told MPs today that Britain cannot afford to see the creation of an "extreme Islamist regime" in the middle of Iraq. The prime minister said that the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) threatening the government in Baghdad were also plotting terror attacks on the UK.

"I disagree with those people who those people who think this is nothing to do with us and if they want to have have some sort of extreme Islamist regime in the middle of Iraq, that won't affect us. It will," he said.

"The people in that regime - as well as trying to take territory - are also planning to attack us here at home in the United Kingdom. So the right answer is to be long-term, hard-headed, patient and intelligent with the interventions that we make.

"The most important intervention of all is to make sure that these governments are fully representative of the people who live in their countries, they close down the ungoverned space, and that they remove the support for the extremists."