Thousands of British citizens have raised enough money to help the families of dead British troops killed in Iraq to sue former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Over £70,000 was raised in one day after families launched a public appeal to fund legal action to hold Mr Blair accountable for crimes in Iraq.
The Iraq War Families Campaign Group has already raised more than one-third of its £150,000 target to ‘bring to justice those responsible for the war and the deaths of our loved ones’.
Reg Keys, whose son Lance Corporal Tom Keys was murdered by an Iraqi mob in an ambush weeks after the invasion, said: ‘This first day total is humbling – and I hope that we will continue to raise our full amount just as fast.
‘The British public remains supportive of our military forces, particularly if they seem to have been badly treated. Sir John Chilcot’s findings need to be acted upon – and so we thank them for their massive help.’
The families have launched the campaign using the CrowdJustice website, which enables individuals, groups and communities to come together to fund legal action.
The appeal came after the Chilcot Report condemned Mr Blair for rushing into a catastrophic conflict on the back of flawed intelligence and amid questions over its legality, and for failing to plan for the aftermath of the invasion.
But while the families have to rely on public generosity to get their legal case off the ground, if Mr Blair is hauled before the civil courts his legal bills will be paid by the taxpayer.
The former prime minister – a multi-millionaire – is indemnified for all his court costs, including possible damages. Under Cabinet Office rules, he will not have to pay a penny.
The Cabinet Manual, which is the rule book for the operation of Government, states that ministers and former ministers ‘are indemnified by the Crown for any actions taken against them for things done or decisions made in the course of their ministerial duties’.
Roger Bacon, whose son Matthew Bacon, a major in the Intelligence Corps, was killed in a roadside bomb in 2005, said: ‘It is sickening he is indemnified. You feel this in the pit of your stomach. We will just have to swallow it – as difficult as it is to swallow.’
Mr Blair has earned tens of millions of pounds since leaving Downing Street in 2007 through a consultancy and investment business – often operating in countries where he established contacts while at Number 10.
He insisted he acted in good faith based on the intelligence available to him in the run up to the war. He said the Chilcot Report showed there was no secret plan to invade Iraq and Parliament had not been misled.
Anyone wanting to back the families’ campaign can donate at https://www.crowdjustice.co.uk/case/chilcot/