MARCH 20, 2003, was the start of the Iraq War.

Tony Blair and his Cabinet colleagues, including East Lothian Labour candidate Douglas Alexander, took the UK into a disastrous war.

Next Monday will mark 20 years since the invasion of Iraq. This was the greatest political and humanitarian disaster the UK had been involved in since the Second World War. The scale of protest across Scotland and the UK has never been matched since then.

Complex realities were placed into a simple narrative. The objective of regime change overtook any humanitarian concerns, overtook the strength of evidence and overtook any consideration of what role ‘the West’ would play in rebuilding after the war

In Iraq and the wider region, people still live with the consequences as a matter of everyday experience.

The war was a disaster, as was the fact that the case for our involvement soon turned out to have had no basis in fact. The result was a crisis of public trust that festers on.

Next week’s anniversary ought to serve as a reminder of the three deceptions so central to the politics of the war and the public disaffection they triggered. It was hardly a revelation, but the 2016 Chilcot report confirmed it: Blair and his aides presented weak and patchy intelligence as authoritative evidence of Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Our memory of these deceptions may have faded, but their effects ripple on.

What have we learnt from the Iraq War? Nothing, it seems. UK Tory Government proposals to deport asylum seekers without considering their claims amount to a “clear breach” of international law, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said.

The Government has already admitted that its Illegal Migration Bill may breach human rights law, with the Prime Minister saying he was “up for the fight” that is predicted to take place over the matter in British courts.

The bill would impose a legal duty on the Home Secretary to remove anyone who arrives on a small boat, either to Rwanda or another “safe third country”, without hearing their asylum claim.

The UNHCR said such legislation would “amount to an asylum ban... no matter how genuine and compelling” individual cases might be. The agency added: “This would be a clear breach of the Refugee Convention and would undermine a long-standing, humanitarian tradition of which the British people are rightly proud.”

The UK Government needs to listen to the UNCHR and not repeat mistakes from the disastrous Iraq War.