Chilcot: verdict on those sitting in judgement

One interrogator stands out on the panel, while another looks a bit out of her depth, says Michael Savage

SIR JOHN CHILCOT

Former permanent secretary at the Northern Ireland Office. Member of the Butler inquiry. The occasional anecdotes, nervous cough and oddly frantic panting of Sir John soon raised concerns that the inquiry chairman was more an old-fashioned English eccentric than an interrogator filled with iconoclastic zeal. Those fears were not eased when Sir John asked one perplexed witness: "Was there anything, any juice in the lemon to be squeezed out of trying to peer behind the curtain into the mind of the regime of Saddam?" He told another that his question did "not deserve an answer". Many also questioned why someone involved in writing the Butler Report, into the use of intelligence before the Iraq invasion, should sit on a related inquiry. But he did step in to help colleagues as Alastair Campbell and Jack Straw tried to avoid answering uestions. He has defended his team against the criticisms it has faced, saying that evidence sessions were not designed as "public sport or entertainment". VERDICT: **

SIR RODERIC LYNE

British ambassador in Moscow, 2000-04. From day one, Sir Roderic has demonstrated the greatest willingness to take on witnesses. He has picked up on key language used by Blair, suggesting there is no evidence that confirms Blair's claim that the threat of Saddam was "growing". His questioning also led to the revelation that Blair assured George Bush in notes that Britain would "be there" if military action was needed. Yet some felt he was not tough enough with Jack Straw. He also allowed Straw lengthy musings on the economist, JM Keynes, and the Danish philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, before he answered. Still, he remains the one to watch this week. VERDICT: ****

SIR LAWRENCE FREEDMAN

Professor of War Studies, King's College, London. Concerns over Sir Lawrence's impartiality were apparent from the day the inquiry team was announced. It was already known that the historian advised Tony Blair in 1999 on his Chicago speech, in which the then Prime Minister outlined his support for liberal interventionism. Sir Lawrence also arranged a No10 seminar on Iraqi society. But Sir Lawrence has become keenly interested in the September 2002 dossier, which set out Blair's case for taking action against Saddam. He appears to have grave concerns over Blair claim that it was "beyond doubt" that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction. VERDICT: ***



BARONESS PRASHAR OF RUNNYMEDE

Chairman of the Judicial Appointments Commission. Onlookers and inquiry witnesses have been perplexed by the performance of Baroness Prashar. Her selection led to accusations of tokenism; she was the last member of the team to be appointed after complaints that no women were on the committee. But the real worries about her arose when she appeared to misunderstand some of the evidence and struggled to get to grips with the chronology of events. While those early problems seem to have disappeared, most of her interventions are merely to "clarify" earlier answers. Tony Blair will not lose sleep over any questions she may have .VERDICT: No stars

SIR MARTIN GILBERT

Historian. Official biographer of Wintson Churchill. Sir Martin is well aware of the strong feelings about the Iraq war. He revealed that two of his children were in the march against military action in 2003. Yet, for most of the public hearings, the historian has been a passive figure. When he has addressed witnesses, he has shown a nerdish interest in the workings of government departments and how different areas of Whitehall worked with each other. Insiders say his real value is behind the scenes, with his skill in analysing the tens of thousands of government documents handed to the inquiry. He has had plenty of practice. His forensic biography of Sir Winston Churchill ran into six volumes.VERDICT: *

Iraq Inquiry: The blame game

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
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

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us