FORMER First Minister Alex Salmond believes Tony Blair can still be held to account over allegations he misled Parliament and the public over the reasons for going to war with Iraq, despite a failure to bring a contempt motion.

The plans for the rare motion were revealed in July by a crossbench group of 20 MPs including the former Conservative party chairman David Davis, who was the shadow deputy prime minister at the time of the disastrous conflict, and is now the Brexit secretary.

If found “guilty” the former Prime Minister faced being shamed by the loss of his right to sit on the Privy Council, which advises the Queen, and lose his Right Honourable status.

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The former prime minister could also – in theory – have faced imprisonment.

Supporters of the campaign said the most damning aspects of Sir John Chilcot's long-awaited report into the reasons for the Iraq war, was how Mr Blair detailed a plan of action over Iraq to US President George W Bush while telling the public and Parliament a different story.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said at the time that he would "probably" support the motion saying: "Parliament must hold to account, including Tony Blair, those who took us this particular war."


If the motion presented by Mr Davis and Mr Salmond had passed, it was expected that a Commons committee would decide the penalty.

But the Commons Speaker, John Bercow refused permission for the contempt debate in July leaving the group led by Mr Salmond to vow the motion would be presented after the Parliamentary recess, in September.

Now a cross party group, minus Mr Davis, is on Wednesday to instead call for an investigation into "misleading information" presented by the former Prime Minister in the build-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2011.

The Commons motion, to be introduced by Mr Salmond, now the SNP's international affairs and Europe in the Commons, says the Iraq inquiry "provided substantial evidence of misleading information being presented by the then prime minister and others on the development of the then government's policy towards the invasion" in 2003.


The SNP motion mentions a "contrast between private correspondence to the United States government and public statements to Parliament and people and also in the presentation of intelligence information".

The motion also urges the Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee of the House "to conduct a further specific examination of this contrast in public and private policy and of the presentation of intelligence".

House of Commons sources say it was not a contempt motion.

Mr Salmond still believed that the new motion "sets in train" the process of Parliamentary accountability.

He said: "The contempt motion was a procedure to try and get time in the House of Commons to debate, that required the permission of the Speaker and he refused to give it.

"It is the Speaker's decision whether the contempt motion has precedence over other business and he decided against it.

"So what we have now done is use the SNP time, to get the time to debate the issue and send it to the Constitutional Affairs Committee, which is the correct procedure. We don't need anyone's permission to do it.

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"The point of this is the CAC with a motion that expresses that the PM misled people in public then has to decide what to do with it.

"There's a number of things they could do, they could decide to interrogate the former Prime Minister, they could decide to construct what the case is to answer, they could recommend to the House that he be stripped of his Privy Councillorship, for example. It's for them to take forward the views of the Commons, if the motion carries."

He said he believed Mr Davis was "cuptied" because he was a government minister but did not think his views had changed over what should happen to Mr Blair.


Mr Davis had said in July: “It’s a bit like contempt of court, essentially by deceit. If you look just at the debate alone, on five different grounds the house was misled – three in terms of the weapons of mass destruction, one in terms of the way the UN votes were going, and one in terms of the threat, the risks. He might have done one of those accidentally, but five?”

Sir John Chilcot, who led the inquiry, recently told MPs: "I absolve him [Blair] from a personal and demonstrable decision to deceive parliament or the public - to state falsehoods, knowing them to be false."

But campaign supporters said Chilcot inquiry's release of a note from Mr Blair to Mr Bush in 2002, saying "I'll be with you, whatever", proves that he misled MPs about his intentions.

The Chilcot inquiry revealed how the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the US which killed 3000 people proved to be the catalyst for a fundamental change in the US and UK's approach to Iraq with talk of military action on the agenda within a matter of weeks.


One memo from Mr Bush to Mr Blair within weeks of 9/11 accepted that extending the war aims to Iraq was at least under consideration. Two months later in a separate memo Blair set out a plan of action to undermine Iraq president Saddam Hussein, supported by military action "when the rebellion finally occurs".

Families of those who died in the war called for Mr Blair to face criminal charges over the damning Chilcot report which said that at the time of the 2003 invasion - which some say sowed the seeds for the rise of the Islamic State terror group - Saddam Hussein “posed no imminent threat”.

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The original motion read: “That the report of the Iraq inquiry, its findings and in particular the publication of the associated correspondence from the former prime minister, Mr Tony Blair, to the president of United States, and others, demonstrates that statements made to the House of Commons by Mr Tony Blair in 2001, 2002 and 2003 on the subject of military action in Iraq were seriously misleading and that accordingly we find Mr Blair in contempt of this House.”