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'Blair apology means noting; Murdered Red Cap's mum hits out at ex-PM's inquiry evidence.

Byline: ROBERT WEATHERALL

A MOTHER who lost her son in the Iraq war has branded Tony Blair's apology at the Chilcott inquiry as meaningless.

The former Prime Minister yesterday gave evidence for the second time to the hearing which is looking into the decision to invade Iraq in 2003. At the end of his evidence Mr Blair still insisted that he was right to go to war but said that he regretted "deeply and profoundly" the loss of life which occurred.

The former Labour leader also admitted that he ignored legal advice which told him that going to war would be illegal.

Pat Long, whose military policeman son Corporal Paul Long, was killed in Iraq in 2003, said the apology means nothing to her.

The mum, from South Shields, said: "Whatever he says it doesn't change anything. He has had years to apologise for what happened yet it's only happened now he's come before this inquiry again."

Mr Blair was heckled by anti-war protestors and grieving relatives of those who died in Iraq as he entered the hearing in London.

Pat, 59, watched on TV from her home as she recovers from major surgery.

She said: "I had to turn it off eventually. The man just makes me sick. He is able to just sit there and is very skilled at dodging the questions put to him. "He was called back to give evidence because the judges weren't happy with what he said first time, but I don't think they learned any more."

Mr Blair did admit that he ignored advice from the country's top lawyer over whether an invasion of Iraq would be legal.

The then-Attorney General Lord Goldsmith wrote a memo to Mr Blair in January 2003 saying that existing rulings from the United Nations did not provide a basis for war.

Lord Goldsmith went on to say that any invasion would need further backing from the UN - which never came.

Pat said: "We all know that he just went to war to support America but I don't think we will get the truth until a full public inquiry is held where all the letters between Blair and Bush are made public."

CAPTION(S):

IN SPOTLIGHT Former Prime Minister Tony Blair leaves after giving evidence to the Iraq Inquiry for a second time yesterday ANGRY Pat Long TRAGEDY Corp Paul Long
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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:7IRAQ
Date:Jan 22, 2011
Words:393
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