We now know who the next Prime Minister will be. A vote among the Party membership would have been good for the members who deserved their say but most have told me they wanted the matter resolved sooner than the nine weeks it would have taken. Theresa May will run a competent and professional administration. And it will need to be. There are so many matters to address. First among them is how we extricate ourselves from the EU. This will require skills of negotiation and engagement that would daunt most of us. Then there is the need to show the world we are still a leader in trade, diplomacy and security. Then there is the domestic agenda on which the Government was elected last year. I feel tired just writing this. While Brexit is important I don't want it to dominate the next few years. It is so important that we continue the vital reforms in education, welfare, health and in our criminal justice system.
The long-awaited publication of the 2.6 million word Chilcot Report into the Iraq War took place on Wednesday. I believe that most people had already taken a settled view about this episode in our recent history. There is a general acceptance that Britain went to war on the basis of false information and that the allied plan was deeply inadequate in how it dealt with post-conflict Iraq. I often ask myself how I would have voted in that key Parliamentary moment if I had been in Parliament at that time. I like to think that my caution and concerns for what was proposed would have held firm. However I know some MPs who intended to vote against war but were swayed by Tony Blair at his oratorical best. One said to me that he was left absolutely convinced by Blair’s speech that he knew things that he couldn’t share and at that momentous time he had to give the Prime Minister of the day his support. He remains deeply affected by that decision to this day.