Blair angered by 'pre-judging' of Chilcot inquiry on Iraq war

 

Tony Blair has expressed his irritation at the Iraq inquiry's preparing to deliver a damning verdict on his handling of the war.

The former prime minister faces criticism for not admitting to a secret agreement with President George Bush that Britain would join the invasion, and for claiming wrongly that Britain's intelligence showed "beyond doubt" that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

Mr Blair is expected to come under fire for not involving the entire Cabinet in key decisions and for failing to prepare for the aftermath of the conflict, according to the Mail on Sunday.

Alastair Campbell, his former director of communications, is set to be criticised for "spinning" intelligence material ahead of the war. Mr Campbell declined to comment last night.

Although the report is not due to be published until the autumn, Whitehall sources confirmed that it was expected to reach tougher conclusions about the conduct of the war than earlier inquiries. The questioning by the five-member panel headed by Sir John Chilcot gave a clear indication of the direction of its investigation, they said.

A spokesman for Mr Blair, who appeared twice before the inquiry, said: "This is a deliberate attempt by the Mail on Sunday to pre-judge a report that hasn't even been written yet. We're not going comment until it has been published."

The interrogation of the former prime minister focused on the certainty with which he had asserted that Saddam had obtained deadly weapons, as well as the claim that Iraq could launch them within 45 minutes of an order.

The inquiry pursued details of a meeting between Mr Blair and Mr Bush at the president's Texan ranch in 2002 – a year before the war – in which they allegedly agreed secretly to theinvasion. Mr Blair denies the claim. There will also reportedly be criticism of the former prime minister's style of "sofa government", keeping the majority of his Cabinet in the dark over developments. Former ministers have also been questioned over the "obvious failings" in post-war planning.

Past judgements

Hutton inquiry (January 2004)

Concluded the dossier making the case for war had not been embellished by Downing Street, although Lord Hutton noted Alastair Campbell had told John Scarlett, head of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), he wanted it to be as strong as possible. JIC members could have been "subconsciously influenced" to use tougher language. Hutton did not pass judgement on the 45-minute claim.



Butler review (July 2004)

Said the dossier "went to, although not beyond, the outer limits of intelligence available". Mr Blair was wrong to present it as authoritative. The 45-minute claim should have been presented differently. Concerns raised over "informality" of the Blair administration, warning the "scope for informed collective political judgement" could have been reduced.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?