Here's what The Rt Hon Michael Ancram MP, then Shadow Foreign Secretary, said about Iraq on 7th May 2003.
" Weapons of Mass Destruction, in the hands of terrorists or rogue states create the same type of threat. The sudden biological attack can be delivered in a briefcase, or in minutes from a missile on the back of a mobile transporter. The recent conflict in Iraq is an important example. The Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussain was already in possession of chemical and biological weapons and was prepared to use them we know that he used them in the Iran-Iraq war, and against the Kurds at Halabjah. We know from the UN Inspectors that four years ago they were very much still there and that no satisfactory explanations had been given as to their current provenance. I believe that pre-emptive action of the sort we have undertaken was justified. Had we not acted on the basis of intelligence, I believe that Saddam Hussein was intent on further developing those weapons, and in adding nuclear weapons to his arsenal. In due course pre-emptive action would have had to be taken. I also believe that with every passing month that action would have become more difficult and more dangerous. The problem for many people in accepting this analysis, is that much of the evidence comes in the form of intelligence information and briefings the sort of information that is highly technical or not releasable into the public domain. Persuading people of the justification for military pre-emption in such circumstances is that much more difficult until in due course the WMD are found.We were right to pre-empt this threat. Initially we tried to do so peacefully, through the UN, and the inspections regime. When that failed due to Saddam Husseins obduracy and the game of cat and mouse which he continued to play right up to the last. We were left with no option but military force to prevent the threat developing and increasing. I believe that what we have achieved in Iraq, and the timescale in which we have done so, and the minimisation of casualties we have achieved, is a remarkable feat and a tribute to our armed forces. I also believe that it has prevented it from growing into a far greater threat.
Here's what the Rt Hon Michael Ancram MP says today:
"The unavoidable truth is that Iraq is in a mess- and a dangerous one at that. Far from getting better it is getting worse. We cannot pretend that none of this is happening. We have been in Iraq for three years and it is now time to take stock. The unbelievable state of denial of the U.S. and British Governments about the realities of Iraq today have made their positions untenable. This is not about how we would like things to be. This is about how things really are- and no amount of wishful thinking can hide the truth. Hving set out at the beginning to be part of the solution, it is now sadly evident that we are in danger of becoming part of the problem. Back then (in 2003) I feared the threat of weapons of mass destruction. I was wrong. So were many others."
Ancram, so enthusiastic about pre-emptive strikes in 2003, is a signatory to the Principles of The Henry Jackson Society. Will his frank admission of the 'dangerous mess' the invasion has caused lead him to sever his links with this extreme neo-conservative pressure group? Let's hope so.