Tony Blair to be called before House of Commons IRA 'On the Runs' inquiry

The committee said Mr Blair had been "extremely disrespectful" when he did not positively respond to an invitation to give evidence earlier this year

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The Independent Online

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is to be questioned by a House of Commons inquiry over a controversial government scheme to deal with suspected IRA fugitives.

Members of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee summoned Mr Blair to appear on 14 January, after it complained last month that he did not response positively to an invitation to give evidence sent nine months ago.

The OTRS scheme formulated by the last Labour government at the request of Sinn Fein saw letters issued to more than 200 suspects, which said they were not wanted by the UK authorities.

The probe was triggered after County Donegal man John Downey was to go on trial charged with killing four soldiers in the 1982 IRA Hyde Park bombing. However, the judge halted the trial when it emerged he had been sent one of the letters in error.

 

Mr Downey had denied murdering Roy Bright, Dennis Daly, Simon Tipper and Geoffrey Young and conspiring to cause an explosion, and the judge ruled his arrest and prosecution was an abuse of process.

Committee chairman Laurence Robertson MP formally summoned Blair in a letter, and said members were “particularly disappointed” that he been unable to “find an hour or so to meet us”.

"The Committee felt that this was extremely disrespectful to the House," Mr Robertson wrote.

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