The mother of a military policeman killed in Iraq says the Chilcot Report backs what she and other families believed all along.
Pat Long, who lost her 24-year-old son Paul in 2003, has said the inquiry into the war proves Tony Blair “lied” about the details which led to the conflict and claimed the lives of 179 British servicemen and women.
Mrs Long has called for the former prime minister to face prosecution, with the report by Sir John Chilcot finding the Labour leader’s Government went ahead with military action on the basis of flawed intelligence.
The 64-year-old, who lives in Jarrow, said of today’s findings: “It is what we expected.
“My boy could still have been here.
“I won’t know all the details until I read the report itself, but from what I’ve heard from the families conference, it is what we all thought it would say.
“He should face war crimes and I stand by all the families.
“It has been seven years, but it has been worth waiting for.
“Our children should never have been sent out there.”
Corporal Long and five other Royal Military Police (RMP) had been sent to a police station in Majar-al-Kabir in south east Iraq, to meet officers they had been tasked to work with.
But the station was surrounded and attacked and all six redcaps were killed.
Pat, of Salem Street, will take delivery of her 12-volume copy of the report on Friday.
She has decided to remain in the North East to hear of the findings, rather than attend the launch of the report in London.
Elsie Manning, from South Shields, lost daughter Staff Sgt Sharron Elliott, 34, when her boat was blown up near Basra in November 2006.
The 72-year-old said: “I’m pleased it is not a whitewash and at the fact that what we all thought in the beginning was true, it was basically lies.
“Now we can move on to the next step, whatever that might be.
“I think he should be impeached and taken through the courts because he lied right from the beginning and the fact is he made his mind up a year prior to the wars starting.
“He lied about the intelligence, he had it and he bypassed it and he did it for his own ego.
“I don’t think we knew straight away because he was very convincing.
“I think what the Labour and the Tory party need to do now is get themselves pulled together, stop squabbling among themselves and start running the country.
“They weren’t honest about the number of injured people who came back, there are people living on the streets who were in the forces they are men and women committing suicide because they need help.
“They need to make us proud and have the courage so that we get some self respect back again.”
In addition to Elsie, Sharron left brothers Wayne, Gary and David and stepsister Emma.
During a lengthy statement, Mr Blair said: “As the report makes clear there were no lies, Parliament and Cabinet were not misled.
“ There was no secret commitment to war, intelligence was not falsified and the decision was made in good faith.
However, I accept that the report makes serious criticisms of the way decisions were taken and again I accept full responsibility for these points of criticism even where I do not fully agree with them.
“I do not think it is fair or accurate to criticise the armed forces, the intelligence services or the civil service.
“It was my decision they were acting upon.”
Families of some of the 179 military personnel killed in Iraq branded the former prime minister a “terrorist”, while Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the report made clear that the invasion was “an act of military aggression based on a false pretext”.