The Government has come under renewed pressure from opposition parties and its own back benches to set a date for a long-awaited inquiry into the waging of war in Iraq. Both the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, have said they are in favour of holding an inquiry, but have delayed setting a date by claiming it would not be right to hold it while combat troops remained in Iraq.
Security sources have now revealed that the 4,100 British troops remaining in the country will be withdrawn by the second half of next year, heaping pressure on the Government to call an inquiry within the next 12 months.
MPs will be urged to sign a motion tabled by the Labour backbencher John McDonnell today, calling on the Government to keep its commitment. "The Government has no grounds now to put off an inquiry," he said. "Though there is a feeling that we need unity ahead of any general election, many of us want to press for the inquiry as it was a clear government commitment."
The Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, said: "Now that Brown's fig leaf of a major British operation is set to disappear, he has no excuse to delay any longer on holding a full public inquiry into how this foreign policy catastrophe happened." The Tories said they would hold an inquiry immediately if they won the election.
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