Blackburn: Straw faces voters over war

By Luke Frost

Jack Straw faced a grilling over his role in the war in Iraq on Wednesday as he faced voters in his constituency of Blackburn.

Mr Straw, along with the Conservative and Liberal Democrat candidates, appeared at Blackburn Cathedral in an event entitled “Can we trust our politicians?”

Questioned over the Iraq war, Mr Straw said: “It was the most serious decision I have ever had to take and I don’t want people to think that I was backing away from the responsibility because I am not.

“I made that decision because I thought that it was the right decision to make at the time with the information we had at the time.”

But Mr Straw was continually heckled as by comments such as “two wrongs don’t make a right, it’s an illegal war.”

He called the progress that had been made in Iraq and Afghanistan as “an uncomfortable truth”.

The crowd also blamed the Conservative party for supporting the war, but the Conservative candidate Michael Law-Riding said: “The Conservatives supported the war at the time based on the information given to them by the government, by the prime minister, by Jack Straw”.

The event is part of a series of debates being held at the Cathedral exploring contemporary issues.

The issue of trust was raised throughout the evening, with Mr Straw being forced to defend his expense claims.

“For years my allowances were wholly inadequate. I had to subsidise my office and my secretary with my wife’s income.what I have had to do is have a place in Blackburn so I can best serve the people of Blackburn.”

One angry voter said: “The main parties have refused to set out in their manifestos what they are actually going to do. They are making a fool of the general public.”