‘We turn a blind eye to Libya dustbowl’

Kingsman Jamie Hancock, who was killed in Iraq in 2006
Kingsman Jamie Hancock, who was killed in Iraq in 2006

A still-grieving father today urged politicians to “face up to the mistakes of the past” as he made a link between foreign policies and the carnage of the Manchester bomb.

Eddie Hancock, whose 19-year-old son Jamie was killed while serving as a British soldier in Iraq, said that interventions abroad made years ago could not be ignored as a source of hatred against our nation.

Mr Hancock has been a vocal supporter of campaigns for former prime minister Tony Blair to face action for the decision to involve Britain in the conflict to topple Saddam Hussein.

He decided to speak out following the appalling bombing at the Manchester Arena after Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn said in a speech that changes to foreign policy were needed.

Mr Hancock said: “Once again with the terrible occurrence in Manchester we see politicians coming out in numbers to voice opinions.

“I don’t agree with a lot of what Jeremy Corbyn says but he said a lot of this is connected to foreign policy.

“Of course it is to do with foreign policy. For politicians to claim it is not is ludicrous, it defies belief. Prior to the attack on Iraq there was no Islamic terrorism in this country whatsoever.

“When somebody deliberately lies to take a country to war with devastating consequences it encapsulates the world. That’s what happened, starting in Iraq.

“Lord Goldsmith wrote a note to Downing Street asking if in the opinion of the prime minister Iraq was in breach of sanctions. The reply the next day said it was the unequivocal view of the prime minister that it was. If that’s a basis for legality then I’m a Dutchman.

“We call these bombers terrorists, fanatics, extremists, but we never look at our own nationally-supported state bombers.

“Believe me, Blair was one of them. David Cameron then learned no lessons and made a dustbowl of Libya. We turn a blind eye to it.

“We need to do something about these people, Blair in particular. Let other countries see that we will right our wrongs and punish those responsible who lie with such gravity.

“We can’t keep fooling ourselves. This parade of celebrities we see and the thousands of selfies against memorials and teddy bears, it’s got into a ritual, it’s like wallowing.

“We’re excusing our own politicians and we aren’t looking at that.”