Blair recalled to face further questions on build-up to Iraq war

Tony Blair is to be recalled before the Iraq Inquiry to answer questions over whether he pressured his Attorney General to change his advice on the legality of the war.

The former prime minister will face a second session before the Chilcot inquiry in the new year – a year after he refused to express regrets over leading Britain to war in 2003. His statement provoked fury in the hearing, with members of the audience calling him a "liar" and a "murderer".

The decision to summon him back will be a blow to Mr Blair, who had hoped his previous six-hour appearance would defuse the continuing controversy over the war.

But it is evidence that the Chilcot team believes there are still significant gaps to be filled as they try to piece together a full picture of the build-up to war. They are preparing to question him over suggestions that he put pressure on Lord Goldsmith, who was then the Attorney General, to alter his advice on the legality of the war. The lawyer's change of heart just before the planned invasion gave a green light for British troops to join the US-led military action.

Mr Blair has denied attempting to influence Lord Goldsmith, but previously classified papers showed he queried the Attorney General's previous view that invasion without a new United Nations resolution would be illegal.

He is also likely to face fresh cross-examination over the commitments he gave to President George Bush that Britain would back an invasion, as well as questions on weapons of mass destruction and whether he allowed proper debate in the Cabinet on the war.

Lord Goldsmith has been asked to provide further written evidence to the inquiry, which will hold its new round of public hearings in January and February.

Other witnesses who have been called back include Jack Straw, who was then Foreign Secretary, and the current Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell. But there is no recall for Gordon Brown, who gave evidence in March. Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry's chairman, said: "As we draft our report, it is clear that there are some areas where we need further detail.

"We will, therefore, be seeking further evidence on those matters. I am committed to taking the majority of this evidence in public."

Although the issue of Iraq is less toxic than when Labour was in power, Mr Blair's recall means police will have to mount a fresh security operation around the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre, where hearings are being held.

Anti-war protesters are seizing on the disclosure on the WikiLeaks website that Gordon Brown's government secretly promised to limit the extent of the Chilcot inquiry to prevent damage to the United States. The pledge was made last September as hearings got under way.

Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop The War Coalition, said Mr Blair would face another protest demonstration when he appears before the panel again. She said: "I hope this time that Chilcot will take a tougher attitude towards Blair. I really hope his evidence will be part of preparations for further action against Blair, hopefully in a court of law."

No date has been set for his second appearance before the five-strong Chilcot inquiry committee, which has been set down for half a day. But there will again be a public ballot for the 60 seats in the hearing room when he gives evidence. A third of the places will be set aside for families who lost relatives in the war.

What he will be asked

Were promises made to George Bush before the war?

Exactly what was said at a private dinner between Mr Blair and George Bush at the President's ranch in Crawford, Texas, in April 2002 – 11 months before the invasion? Sir Christopher Meyer, British ambassador to Washington at the time, suggested a deal was "signed in blood" that night. Mr Blair rejected the accusation – and was backed up by Jonathan Powell, his chief of staff, and Sir David Manning, his foreign policy adviser.



The war's legality

Much of the inquiry has focused on the belated change of heart by Lord Goldsmith, who was the Attorney General, over the legal justification for invading Iraq. When Mr Blair appeared before the Chilcot inquiry, his interrogators had a memo in which Lord Goldsmith warned of the danger of not having a fresh UN mandate for action. To their frustration, they could not ask about the memo as it was classified at the time, but the ban was lifted in July.



When did Mr Blair start to suspect that Saddam did not possess WMD?

He was robust in his defence of the flawed intelligence that made the case for war, but was not challenged on exactly when he realised no WMD would be found.

Suggested Topics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Travel
travel
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
artCultural relations between Sydney and Melbourne soured by row over milk crate art instillation
Arts and Entertainment
Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux play teeneage lovers in the French erotic drama 'Blue Is The Warmest Colour' - The survey found four times as many women admitting to same-sex experiences than 20 years ago
filmBlue Is The Warmest Colour, Bojack Horseman and Hobbit on the way
Arts and Entertainment
Preparations begin for Edinburgh Festival 2014
Edinburgh festivalAll the best shows to see at Edinburgh this year
News
Two giraffes pictured on Garsfontein Road, Centurion, South Africa.
i100
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleBenidorm, actor was just 68
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

Offshore Wind Package Manager

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: T...

Subsea Cables Installation Project Manager

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Subsea Cables Installation Project Manager

£50000 - £60000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Head of Offshore Operations & Interfaces

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices