Iraq inquiry 'to criticise Blair'
The Iraq Inquiry is poised to deliver damning criticism of Tony Blair's handling of the war, it has been reported.
The investigation will round on the former prime minister for telling Parliament that intelligence suggesting Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction was "beyond doubt", according to the Mail on Sunday.
The Chilcot Inquiry will also criticise Mr Blair for failing to admit to a "secret pledge" with former US president George Bush, made when the pair met at a Texas ranch in 2002, that he would go to war, the newspaper claimed.
In a report out this autumn Mr Blair will also come under fire for operating a "sofa government" - a small core of key allies that confer away from formal meetings - so cabinet ministers were unaware of vital information.
The failure to develop robust post-war plans for Iraq will also be seized upon when the findings are released, the newspaper said.
Officials are currently writing the report and all witnesses will be given the chance to respond to any inaccuracies.
Mr Blair led the country to war eight years ago amid nationwide protests. Successor Gordon Brown set up the Chilcot Inquiry after criticism of previous probes.
Mr Blair mounted a vigorous defence of the 2003 invasion of Iraq when he appeared before the inquiry for the first time, insisting he had no regrets over removing Saddam 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.
He gave evidence a second time and was jeered as he said he "deeply and profoundly" regretted the loss of life in the Iraq War. In his memoirs, A Journey, he said he was angry at the way he was asked whether he had any regrets about going to war. He wrote that the Chilcot Inquiry was supposed to be about learning lessons but had "inevitably turned into a trial of judgment and even good faith".
A spokesman for Tony Blair said: "This is a deliberate attempt to pre-judge a report that hasn't even been written yet. We're not going comment until it has been published."