Former Deputy Prime Minister of Britain, John Prescott, said on the Sunday that the 2003 invasion of Iraq by U.K. and U.S. forces was “illegal”, defying the position of his former boss, Tony Blair.

This came as Sir John Chilcot finally published his report on the Iraqi war.

The Sunday Mirror quoted Sir John as saying that the U.K. chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted.

“Military action at that time was not a last resort,” he said.

Lord Prescott expressed apology to everyone involved but most especially the families of the 179 men and women who gave up their lives in the Iraq iWar.

He said he would live with the “catastrophic decision” for the rest of his life.

The report also revealed that former Prime Minister Mr. Tony Blair pushed Britain into the Iraqi war without evidence or a plan.

Lord Prescott said he agreed “with great sadness and anger” with former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan that the war was illegal.

He wrote: “In 2004, the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan said that as regime change was the prime aim of the Iraqi war, it was illegal. With great sadness and anger, I now believe him to be right.”

Meanwhile, Tony Blair stands by his decision to invade Iraq.

He wrote: “A day doesn’t go by when I don’t think of the decision we made to go to war; Of the British troops who gave their lives or suffered injuries for their country; Of the 175,000 civilians who died from the Pandora’s Box we opened by removing Saddam Hussein.”

The war was an armed conflict that began with the invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition in 2003.

The invasion consisted of 21 days of major combat operations, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and deposed the Ba’athist government of Saddam Hussein.

Author: Ope Adedeji