Alastair Campbell has told talkRADIO that the government's decision to invade Iraq in 2003 was "cautious" rather than the risky gamble that many people have suggested.
Tony Blair, prime minister at the time of the invasion, has been heavily criticised in the years since then, with critics suggesting he went to war on the basis of flimsy intelligence.
However Campbell told Sam Delaney: "I don't accept that we didn't show diligence. I actually think we were cautious."
Campbell also suggested the controversy surrounding the war in Iraq has contributed to the crisis in Syria by making Western governments more reluctant to take action overseas.
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