Blair summoned back to Chilcot

By Peter Wozniak

Tony Blair will have to appear once more before the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war.

The inquiry had held the threat of reappearance over the former prime minister if his initial evidence failed to satisfy.

Sir John Chilcot said: “As we draft our report it is clear that there are some areas where we need further detail.

“I am committed to taking the majority of this evidence in public.”

Mr Blair gave a polished performance at his appearance before the committee earlier this year, insisting that his decisions in the lead-up to the 2003 invasion was based on the soundest intelligence possible that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction.

The new hearings will take place for half a day at some point between January 18th and February 14th, but the exact timings will be withheld until one week prior to evidence being heard.

Mr Blair will be joined by former foreign secretary Jack Straw and former chief of defence staff Admiral Lord Boyce. Attorney general Lord Goldsmith will also be asked to give written evidence to the inquiry.

As occurred last year, Mr Blair’s session will only be attended by those winning a public ballot for seats. Priority has been given for the families of armed forces personnel or other British citizens who died in Iraq.

The ballot will take place on January 10th.

Mr Blair has remained unrepentant over his deeply divisive decision to join the US-led invasion, weathering bitter domestic opposition.

Sir John Chilcot’s inquiry into the war has been ongoing since May 2009, heard evidence from 30 witnesses and is set to report next year.