08/09/2011 23:17 BST | Updated 05/02/2013 06:23 GMT

Iraq War: David Miliband Concedes 'Positives Outweighed By Negatives'

David Miliband has said that any good that came from the Iraq War was outweighed by a "longer list of negatives". He also said that the US-led invasion was not an inspiration for the Arab Spring.

The former Labour foreign secretary, who voted for the war, made the remarks during an appearance on a special edition of Question Time aired on Thursday to mark the 10-year anniversary of 9/11.

Miliband was asked whether he thought the overthrow of Saddam Hussein by US and British forces in 2003 had led to the recent uprisings in Egypt and Libya.

"It's very tempting for people in my position to say we'll add to the positive side of the balance sheet by saying the Arab Spring wouldn't have happened without the Iraq War," he said.

“But in all honesty, I can't say that."

"It would make life much easier. I voted for the war in Iraq... I have to recognise today the list of positives, which includes Saddam gone, which includes the Kurds safe, which includes Gaddafi giving up his 3,000 chemical bombs, are outweighed by the longer list of negatives."

Miliband was responding to American neo-conservative Richard Perle, a former adviser to George W Bush, who said the Iraq War had been an "inspiration" for the peoples of the Middle East to overthrow other dictators in the region.

The admission that his vote in favour of war may have been a mistake is a marked departure from last year. Following his defeat in the 2010 Labour leadership election by Ed Miliband, David Miliband could barely hide his disdain for his brother's decision to declare the war wrong.

As his younger brother distanced himself from war in his victory speech, the defeated Miliband sat stony faced in the front row. He was then seen to turn to Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman to say: “Why are you clapping? You voted for it [the war].”