Ministers back down from a real inquiry into Iraq:
Approximately 12 Labour MPs rebelled, including Bob Marshall Andrews, Bob Wareing, John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn and Lynn Jones, with a larger number abstaining. Ms Beckett fended off the demands for an immediate inquiry saying it would send the message to British troops and to the Iraqi insurgency that there was a weakening of the British commitment...So it's party politics as usual trumping the public good, moral values and truth. Possible risking defamation charges, Simon Jenkins says This House of Commons is God's gift to dictatorship:
Many anti-war Labour MPs, including those who have supported as many as three separate Commons motions calling for an inquiry, held back from rebellion, partly because they were reluctant last night to give any political succour to the Scottish and Welsh Nationalists...
At the outset of a noisy Commons chamber, Plaid's Adam Price branded the war a "monumental catastrophe" and the "worst foreign policy disaster since Suez ..."
He warned of a "breakdown in our system of government and a fault line in our constitution", which allowed the prime minister to take the country to war on flawed intelligence. He said that the inquiry needed to address three central questions - how the government could take us to war on claims that turned out to be false, when was the decision for this war actually made and why has the planning for and conduct of the occupation proved so disastrous.
While British soldiers ram democracy down others' throats at the point of a gun, their representatives seem incapable of performing democracy's simplest ritual, challenging the executive.Steve Bell captures the moment: