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Ex-PM challenged to meet victims' families

By Ryan Hooper

Published 08/07/2016

Sir John Chilcot presents his report
Sir John Chilcot presents his report
Sarah O'Connor, whose brother Sergeant Bob O'Connor was killed in Iraq

A campaigner who described Tony Blair as "the world's worst terrorist" after the Chilcot report has challenged the former prime minister to meet the grieving families of British service personnel killed in the Iraq war.

Sarah O'Connor, whose brother Sergeant Bob O'Connor was killed when his Hercules plane was shot down near Baghdad in 2005, accused the former premier of failing to "look us [families] in the eye" after the historic report into Britain's involvement in the war.

Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain, Ms O'Connor hit out at Mr Blair's appearance before television cameras on Wednesday afternoon, in which he delivered a lengthy statement and took questions from journalists.

She said: "There is one final thing I would like to say to Mr Blair. He said that while he takes responsibility he can look the families in the eye. Well, looking down the lens of a camera is not looking us in the eye.

"So, Mr Blair, challenge accepted. I've thrown down the gauntlet. Come and look me in the eye."

She added: "He's had enough requests from us, he's always refused. He wouldn't look us in the eye when he came to give his evidence and he wasn't there yesterday. He was protected by signed-off, lawyer-approved, damage limitation... a two-hour, rambling indictment of the inquiry findings.

"He's so disillusioned by his own sense of self-power. There's a disconnect because looking down the lens of a camera is not looking people in the eye."

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