London: Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday said that lessons must be learnt from Britain's decision to invade Iraq in 2003 to ensure that war is always the last resort following a report that found fault with the country joining the US-led invasion.
Cameron was addressing the House of Commons after the release of an official inquiry by John Chilcot earlier on Wednesday into the bloody and controversial conflict to remove Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
"There are some lessons that we do need to learn and frankly keep on learning. Taking the country to war should always be a last resort, and should only be done if all credible alternatives have been exhausted," Cameron told MPs as he announced a two-day parliamentary debate next week on the report's findings.
In reference to Tony Blair, who was prime minister during the war and who has been severely rebuked in the report, Cameron admitted the Labour leader had given commitments to then US President George W Bush that were not discussed openly in Cabinet.
"However, at no stage does he (Chilcot) explicitly say that there was a deliberate attempt to mislead people," Cameron notes.
He also stressed the importance of the UK's close relationship with the US and warned, "It is wrong to conclude that we should not stand with US allies when our common interest is threatened. Britain has no greater friend or ally in the world than America".
The opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn told the Commons in his reaction that "by any measure, the invasion and occupation of Iraq has been, for many, a catastrophe".
"We now know that the House was misled in the run up to the war, and the House must now decide how it should deal with it 13 years later...Going to war without UN authorisation was profoundly dangerous," he said.
The report, which is estimated to have cost over 10 million pounds of taxpayers' money, has been chaired by former senior civil servant Chilcot and has taken seven years to complete.
It has been described as one of the most highly anticipated inquiries launched by the UK in recent times.