Daily Mail Calls for the Impeachment of Tony Blair
June 18, 2014 • 9:31AM

The senior correspondent of the Daily Mail, Simon Heffer, called on the Parliament to impeach former Prime Minister Tony Blair for illegally bringing Great Britain into the war against Iraq. After denouncing Blair for continuing to cause "outrage and bewilderment over Iraq" and calling him a "self-serving fantasist with blood on his hands," in an interview recently on Sky News, Heffer lays out the case for impeachment.

Heffer writes that while Blair deserves to be tried as a war criminal, it is unlikely to happen; therefore, Parliament should impeach him. In the British system this is done through a Select Committee of MPs which draws up the evidence to take and provide prosecutors to pursue the case before the Lords. A conviction can be had through a simple majority, at which point a sentence can be passed, "which could, in theory, involve Tony Blair being sent to prison."

No one has been impeached since 1806, and while, in 1999, a Select Committee decreed the procedure to be obsolete, and unnecessary in a modern parliamentary democracy, there has been no legislation to withdraw impeachment from the body of law, and there is no legal way to block it. Blair's impeachment was first suggested in 2004 by Adam Price, a Plaid Cymru MP, but it was never really formally presented.

If impeachment were to be pursued, the evidence would be compiled in a document called the Article of Impeachment, which would be drawn up by a committee of MPs, probably including the government's law officers and other MPs with legal experience. It would then be given to the House of Lords, which sets a date for the hearing, pending which "Black Rod — chief officer of the House of Commons — may detain the accused in the cells under Big Ben."

The charges, Heffer writes, are clear: "Did Mr. Blair know he was lying to Parliament when he presented the 'dodgy dossier' — which argued that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction that could be deployed against the West in just 45 minutes — and therefore gain Parliament's authority to go to war on the basis of a deception?... Is he therefore responsible for the 179 deaths of British service personnel, never mind the tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians who died in the conflict? And for the £9 billion it cost us?

"Above all, has he damaged the interests of this country by creating long-term instability in the region because of a decision that was either criminally negligent or possibly taken on a fraudulent basis?"

Heffer concludes, "I suspect that as things worsen in Iraq — and they will — getting a majority in the Commons to impeach Mr. Blair might not be impossible. What the outcome in the Lords would be, when they decide on his guilt or innocence, would depend on the evidence. The public is crying out for that evidence to be heard. And impeachment is the right constitutional tool for a former Prime Minister accused of such behavior." And if impeached, "we would finally know, once and for all, just what Tony Blair's true place in history should be."

If Parliament impeaches Blair, the question that will be asked is, why can't the U.S. Congress impeach President Barack Obama, Blair's partner in crime?