When Gordon Brown announced that there was going to be an inquiry into the Iraq war, a private inquiry, an inquiry behind closed doors, an inquiry where we were only going to hear part of the truth, we knew we had to do something. I not only felt that this was an injustice to all those who marched against the Iraq war, but also an injustice to those who supported it at the time but then felt tricked by exaggerated claims about “Weapons of Mass Destruction”, and all those service personnel who went to war and died on the basis of made up claims. Thousands and thousands of Iraqis have died, as well as 179 British service men and women.
So we responded and launched a petition for the inquiry to be held in public. Thousands of us signed in just a few days, an amazing response which upped the pressure on Brown and showed how many of us believe passionately that we deserve a proper inquiry into the war.
Quickly things started to go our way. The signatures mounted up. We started to hear from MPs saying they had signed the petition and supported the campaign. Independent experts started to speak out saying there was no good reason for the secrecy. Under all this pressure, Gordon Brown began to waver, claiming that it was up to the inquiry chairman to decide which parts of the inquiry were to be held in public. We had him on the back foot and we were not going to give up.
We flooded parliament with our petition, ensuring every MP received a copy. More MP’s got in touch with us to show their support. We contacted hundreds of local groups, who showed their support and pushed the petition out to all who they could..Thank you!
In the week since the petition was launched, we’ve made massive progress. Sir John Chilcot the appointed chair of the inquiry said “I believe it will be essential to hold as much of the proceedings of the inquiry as possible in public’ and made it clear that key figures like Gordon Brown and Tony Blair can expect to appear in public.
For now, it looks like we’ve achieved a great result, but we will keep watching to see how the inquiry operates in practice. We will step up the pressure again if needs be.
From working on this campaign I have to say that I feel inspired. It’s been amazing to see the positive response and see that people want to contribute to making a change in the way that UK politics is working. It’s great to see people taking action together, working together and being part of a people powered movement.