Demonstrators protest at secret inquiry

Protesters angry at the Government's decision to hold the Iraq inquiry in secret gathered at Westminster today.

As Prime Minister Gordon Brown addressed MPs, a crowd of demonstrators who were furious at the move filled Parliament Square.

Ben Beach, 19, an architecture student from east London, said: "We're here today because they have announced the inquiries will be in secret which I think is an affront to democracy in this country.

"And it's an affront to British democracy that this war went ahead despite the overwhelming majority of people being against it."

The inquiry announced by Brown "doesn't go far enough at all".

He added: "We need to know the real reasons the war happened."

Samantha Oxby, 41, a designer from Richmond, said she was there to support the Stop the War Coalition.

"I think it's important that we keep the pressure on for a public inquiry because they say they are going to clear it up in there (Parliament) and it's all going to be transparent.

"I think the inquiry should be public for the sake of the soldiers that had to fight there and never came back.

"They (politicians) should not be able to wage an illegal war without there being some kind of come-uppance."

She added that much more of taxpayers' money had been spent on the Iraq war than was involved in the expenses scandal.

Lindsey German, from Stop The War Coalition said: "My reaction is it is what I expected, another whitewash. It's another inquiry that will take over a year and cost millions of pounds.

"It will bring us no closer to apportioning blame and finding out what happened in this disastrous war in Iraq."

Tansy Hoskins, 27, from Southwark, south London, said: "I think it is disgusting, it's not good enough for the Iraqis who died in this war, not good enough for the soldiers or families who lost their lives in this war.

"It's also not good enough for all those who marched on the streets of London in the anti-war protest."