`Stop Blair from calling shots on inquiries'

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The Independent Online
SEVERE RESTRICTIONS should be placed on Tony Blair's powers to order inquiries into scandals and failures in Government, according to a report published yesterday.

MPs called for reform after criticism of inquiries including Lord Hutton's inquiry into the death of the weapons expert Dr David Kelly, Lord Butler's inquiry into the intelligence in the run-up to war, and Sir Alan Budd's investigation into the David Blunkett affair.

The parliamentary standards watchdog should be given powers to investigate wrongdoing by ministers, while the Lord Chief Justice should be given joint responsibility for appointing judges to lead inquiries, the Commons Public Administration Committee said.

It also demanded that MPs be given powers to initiate inquiries if ministers fail to act and it called for the public to be given the chance to comment on the remit and scope of any investigations launched.