Families of Iraq War victims launch crowdfunding appeal to take Blair to court
Relatives of some of Britain's Iraq War dead have launched an online crowdfunding appeal to pay for possible legal action against Tony Blair and leading government officials.
The Iraq War Families Campaign Group has launched the bid to raise £50,000 to "bring to justice those responsible for the war and the deaths of our loved ones".
It comes weeks after the Chilcot report tore into Mr Blair, other leading politicians and senior officials over their actions before, during and after the conflict, in which 179 British service personnel died.
The group is led by Roger Bacon and Reg Keys, whose sons were both killed in Iraq.
On the fundraising page on the crowdjustice.co.uk website, they said there had been speculation that Mr Blair and others "can and should" be taken to court and "we, the families, wish to bring such legal proceedings against any state officials who might have acted unlawfully or in excess of their powers".
They added: "Before Matthew, Tom and so many of their fellow servicemen and women died, we knew the risks all British military personnel assume when serving Queen and country.
"However, the long-awaited Iraq Inquiry (Chilcot) Report has confirmed that there were serious failings in the lead-up to, planning and conduct of the war, which led to so many unnecessary deaths.
"Our armed forces must never again be so callously sacrificed by political ambition and the irresponsibility and failings of government and Whitehall."
The group is aiming to raise £150,000 in total to fund their lawyers, McCue & Partners - currently working free of charge - to fully analyse the 2.6 million-word report by Sir John Chilcot and prepare "a comprehensive opinion approved by expert senior counsel".
The long-awaited Chilcot report strongly criticised the way former prime minister Mr Blair took the country to war in 2003 on the basis of "flawed" intelligence with inadequate preparation at a time when Saddam Hussein did not pose an "imminent threat".
Sir John also said the way the decision about the legal basis for the war was reached was "far from satisfactory", but his report did not rule on the legality of the military action.
Mr Blair has defended the decision to oust Saddam and insisted that his efforts to form a close relationship with the US had persuaded President George W Bush to pursue a second UN Security Council resolution, which ultimately was not obtained.
Mr Bacon added: "Our determination to find answers has been redoubled by Sir John's excoriating view of the Establishment's tragic and error-strewn display.
"We must now ensure every iota of the report is analysed in depth, to determine whether there are potential legal cases to follow up. And to help us, we ask the British public to take action."
Matthew Jury, from McCue & Partners, said: "The report told us what went wrong and who was responsible but it was not a court of law. If they can, the families are determined to hold those individuals to account by bringing them to trial to answer for their actions.
"Not just for them or their loved ones, but to ensure that never again will our politicians act with such impunity in taking our country into an unjust war with such tragic consequences.
"This is the families' and the British people's only chance for justice."