Blair aide says Iraq war was 'big mistake': Report
Industry minister Margaret Hodge was quoted by a north London local paper as having made the outspoken criticisms at a private function.india Updated: Nov 18, 2006 02:05 IST
One of Tony Blair's allies denounced the Iraq war as the British prime minister's "big mistake in foreign affairs", attacking his whole approach to international relations, British media said on Friday.
Industry minister Margaret Hodge was quoted by a north London local paper as having made the outspoken criticisms to guests at a private function last Friday, saying she had been troubled by Blair's attitude in foreign policy since 1998.
The Islington Gazette weekly said those doubts came from what she said was Blair's "moral imperialism" or the need to impose British values and ideas on foreign countries.
But she explained to one guest's question that she accepted Blair's assurances about the Iraq war because "he was our leader and I trusted him", the newspaper - whose editor was among those at last Friday event - added.
Hodge, who is said to have told the meeting "I hope this isn't being reported", was unavailable for comment on Friday as the national media and opposition parties picked up on the report.
Britain's support for the US-led invasion of Iraq has been controversial from the start, prompting mass demonstrations and question marks over claims by London and Washington that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.
Blair recently scraped through a parliamentary vote calling for a full debate about British involvement in Iraq and discussion of any exit strategy, while families of some of the soldiers killed are demanding a public inquiry.
But cabinet and other senior ministers have by and large been united in their defence of the operation to rid Iraq of Saddam Hussein and bring about a democratically elected government.