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Blair recalled to Iraq inquiry

Tony Blair faces another public grilling about his costly decision to invade Iraq after he was recalled by the official inquiry into the war.

The former prime minister will answer further questions about Britain's involvement in the conflict when he returns to give evidence early next year.

Other key Labour government figures involved in ruling on the legality of the war have also been asked to provide more information for the five-strong Iraq Inquiry panel.

Ex-foreign secretary Jack Straw will appear as a witness again and former attorney general Lord Goldsmith will provide extra written evidence.

Admiral Lord Boyce, chief of the defence staff from 2001 to 2003, and Lord Turnbull, cabinet secretary from 2002 to 2005, are also being recalled.

The inquiry will hear evidence for the first time from current Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O'Donnell, former head of the RAF Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, Mr Blair's adviser on European issues Sir Stephen Wall, former cabinet secretary Lord Wilson of Dinton, and ex-Foreign Office Iraq director John Buck.

Written evidence has been requested from former defence procurement ministers Lord Drayson and Lord Bach and Mr Straw's ex-special adviser Lord Williams of Baglan.

Mr Blair mounted a vigorous defence of the 2003 invasion of Iraq when he appeared before the inquiry on January 29, insisting he had no regrets over removing Saddam Hussein and would do the same again.

But critics of the war and families of the 179 British troops who died in the conflict condemned his appearance, saying he evaded the panel's questions and refused to admit his mistakes.

Inquiry chairman Sir John Chilcot 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."


From Belfast Telegraph