Blix: Blair used spin in case for Iraq invasion

Hans Blix has said Tony Blair used spin to enhance the case for invading Iraq in 2003.

The former United Nations chief weapons inspector claimed the British prime minister replaced “question marks with exclamation marks” in intelligence dossiers.

“I do think they exercised spin,” Mr Blix told Sky News.

“I think if they’d allowed us to carry on the inspections a couple of months more then we would have been able to go to all the sites suspected.”

The UN weapons inspector said the discredited September 2002 dossier on weapons of mass destruction had deliberately embellished the case for war.

He predicted that intelligence officials would have been likely to conclude Iraq had no weapons stockpiles given time.

Mr Blix described the conflict as “clearly illegal”, but did not accuse the prime minister of deceit.

“I would never dare to accuse any statesman of bad faith unless I had absolute evidence of it. I do think they exercised spin,” he said.

“They put exclamation marks instead of question marks. There were question marks but they changed them to exclamation marks.”

But the failure of the alliance to uncover the weapons they predicted had cost political leaders, he added, “both Bush and Blair lost a lot of [public] confidence” Mr Blix said.

He added that he saw the invasion of Iraq as a failure.

“I think everything in Iraq after the invasion has been a tragedy. The only positive thing, I think, is the disappearance of Saddam Hussein,” Mr Blix concluded.