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Families blame Blair for Iraq deaths

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 13 October 2009

Some of the families of servicemen killed in Iraq tell the official inquiry into the conflict that they blame Tony Blair for their deaths. Carl Dinnen reports.

Tony Blair (Credit: Reuters)

A retired army officer whose son was killed in Iraq has told the inquiry into the war that the British people were "lied to" and "badly let down".

Former Lieutenant Colonel Colin Mildinhall, a Gulf War veteran, said lies had been told about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the invasion.

He was one of several relatives of servicemen who criticised the government while giving evidence to inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot today.

Sir John Chilcot has said that hearing from the familes was a priority for his committee.

At this hotel in central London the families got to tell the inquiry team what they want investigated. There was one common theme.

The inquiry will investigate why and how Britain got involved in the Iraq war, what lessons can be learned. They will move around the country - today meeting in London. They will be in Manchester on Friday.

It then moves to Edinburgh next week, to Bristol after that and finally Belfast.

Lt Col Mildinhall's son, Lieutenant Tom Mildenhall, was killed by a roadside bomb in Basra in 2006. Also there was the mother of Flight Lieutenant Kristian Gover, killed in a helicopter crash in 2004.

Lance Corporal James Cartwright died when his armoured vehicle crashed into a canal. His father wants politicians held to account too. That feeling was one the inquiry team heard again and again.

The families may not hear everything about why Britain invaded Iraq; Sir John Chilcott admitted today that some information may have to be confined to a secret annex or a secret version of the report.

Full hearings will begin in the late autumn, and it is already clear which direction the families want them to take and Tony Blair's appearance will be eagerly awaited.

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