Fallen soldier’s mum: Blair regret isn’t enough

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THE mum of one of the youngest soldiers to be killed in Iraq has dismissed Tony Blair’s admission of regret about the loss of life in the conflict as “too little, too late”.

Janice Murray, mother of Private Michael Tench, who was 18 when he was killed four years ago, said that “questions were not answered” by the former Prime Minister as he made his second appearance at the Iraq Inquiry.

On the fourth anniversary of her son’s death, Mrs Murray said she had been keeping an eye on proceedings in London.

Michael, a former Red House School pupil, died when a roadside bomb hit his Warrior patrol vehicle in Basra, in January 2007.

Mrs Murray, 47, of Carley Hill, said: “I think it’s a bit of a whitewash to me. In between picking up flowers at the cemetery I’ve seen quite a lot of it.

“I think he repeated himself in different areas.

“He said that if the going got tough they wouldn’t pull out and he said how sorry he was.”

Mr Blair was heckled by war protestors in the public gallery at the inquiry, which is being held at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre at Westminster.

At the first hearing, which took place last year, he told inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot that he did not regret the removal of Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

However, yesterday, he moved to clarify his comments on the matter, saying that it was never “my meaning or my intention” to suggest that he did not regret the loss of life in the conflict and its aftermath.

“I wanted to make it clear that, of course, I regret deeply and profoundly the loss of life, whether from our own armed forces, those of other nations, the civilians who helped people in Iraq or the Iraqis themselves,” he said

Responding to Mr Blair’s comments, Mrs Murray said: “You could see watching it that he was put under pressure.

“I understand he was doing a job but I think there has been that many lies that he has been convinced of those lies. It’s too little, too late and far too long for sorry.

“It won’t bring back what we have lost.”

Mrs Murray added: “It’s a shame it’s not in a court of law, rather than an inquiry.”