TONY Blair should be stripped of his knighthood after declassified documents showed he “misled parliament” before taking military action in Iraq, MPs have been told.

Alba MP Neale Hanvey used a debate in Westminster Hall on Wednesday evening to call out the former prime minister, saying: “Governments should not lie to go to war, and the truth must now be told.”

Hanvey focused on legal advice given to the former Labour leader and revealed in declassified documents from 1998.

From December 16-19, 1998, the UK and US launched a bombing campaign against the Saddam Hussein-controlled Iraq.

On December 17, Labour grandee Tony Benn challenged Blair over the legality of the action, noting that without the approval of the UN Security Council the bombing was “a flagrant breach of article 46 of the charter of the United Nations”.

Responding, the then-prime minister said: “I have no doubt that we have the proper legal authority.”

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However, documents highlighted by Hanvey show that Blair had been warned by multiple top officials that they did not have the legal authority required.

In February 1998, the foreign office’s top legal adviser, Sir Franklin Berman KC, wrote: “The only valid claim to employ force (in this case) is under the authority of the Security Council … My view is that a new resolution in suitable terms is a sine qua non [essential].”

Hanvey further highlighted documents showing the advice of top figures including then solicitor general for England and Wales, Charlie Falconer.

Two days after Berman’s letter, Falconer warned that in the Foreign Office “some lawyers argued very strongly that it would be the first time since 1956 that the UK had used force without the backing of the Security Council Resolution”.

“Some lawyers might feel strongly enough to resign,” Falconer said, as they may be expected to implement decisions “that they believed were incompatible with international law”.

The National:

Alba MP Hanvey also pointed to minutes from a meeting held on February 19, 1998 where Blair and other top Labour politicians were briefed by the chief of defence staff.

The minutes note that the defence boss “mentioned that he was worried about the legal side”, that “the prime minister noted that the legal advice was that securing another SCR [Security Council Resolution] was preferable”.

Hanvey said: “How can it be that a prime minister who prosecuted two wars against lawful advice and instruction has been rewarded with a knighthood. This is an insult to every single life lost and it should be withdrawn forthwith and a path to full justice secured.”

When Blair’s knighthood was first announced, a petition to have it taken from him was quickly set up. To date, it has had more than 1.1 million signatures.

Speaking in Westminster hall, Hanvey said: “Blair pressed officials, in particular the Attorney General, to provide a legal justification for the use of force. He received none, but he did it anyway.

“Blair misled Parliament by claiming that a legal basis for military force, without a UN Security Council Resolution existed, when in fact it did not.

“The consequences have been devastating for Iraqis, for the region and for military personnel and their families.”