Sunday, January 16, 2011

Blair to give more evidence

Blair faces fresh questions on Iraq evidence

Former prime minister recalled by Chilcot inquiry to face quiz on 'contradictions' between his evidence and that of other witnesses

Mark Townsend
The Observer, Sunday 16 January 2011

Tony Blair is set for fresh embarrassment over the Iraq war this week when he is cross-examined about contradictions relating to the manipulation of intelligence before the invasion.

The former prime minister will give evidence for up to four-and-a-half hours during his second appearance before the Chilcot inquiry on Friday.

Sources say Blair's previous testimony appears to differ from some given in private by other witnesses, thought to include the former chairman of the joint intelligence committee, Sir John Scarlett.

Evidence previously offered in camera will now be made public and it is believed that conflicting claims made by Scarlett and Blair will be central to the latter's public grilling this week.

Scarlett oversaw the infamous "dodgy dossier" of 2002 which included the now discredited claim that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes.

It is also thought that Blair will face new queries over claims he put pressure on former attorney general Lord Goldsmith to declare the war legal.

Blair is again likely to face protests from anti-war campaigners.