Wednesday 23 December 2009


It has been announced that the Chilcot inquiry in to the invasion of Iraq will not now call Mr Brown or his ministers to give evidence until after the General Election.

The plan to summon Mr Brown to give evidence was revealed in a statement from the inquiry team working for Sir John Chilcot.

The statement listed witnesses who will be called to give evidence to the inquiry next year, who include Tony Blair, the former prime minister, and Alastair Campbell, his former spokesman.

Sir John’s committee will hold new evidence sessions in January and February, before pausing during the general election campaign that is expected to start in March.

The statement also explained that witnesses who are currently serving as ministers will not be called until after the election. It said the decision has been taken to ensure that the inquiry's work cannot be used for political purposes.

It seems to me that, before we make our choices about who should govern the country for the next up to 5 years, we should really be appraised of the part of these people in the war that killed and maimed so many of our soldiers and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens. There would be no reason not to call the members of the opposition parties who were also involved in decisions on a Privy Council basis, in order that no political advantage or disadvantage could be seen to fall to any party.

And there were we rather naively thinking that the Chilcot Inquiry was to be open, fair and independent of government.... silly old us.


  1. I must admit I never expected the Chilcot inquiry to be 'open' or ' fair'. The inquiry is headed by the guy who was on the Butler inquiry ( whitewash into WMD's in Iraq). None of the obvious questions are being asked so I gave up after a couple of days. The Butler inquiry concluded that Tony had made an 'honest mistake' in his 45 minute warning of missile attack.

  2. How very convenient for Labour.

  3. Anon:

    I suppose it was silly to imagine that Chilcot was any different. I just had an idea that as he went against Brown, who said he wanted it held it in private, he might be a bit of a rebel.

    I wonder if he's hoping to be Lord Chilcot?

  4. QM: Amazing how many things are convenient for labour. Like I said, I wonder if someone is looking for a comfy seat on red benches and a guaranteed supplementary income until their toes turn up!

  5. I goes to show it pays to have friends in high places.

  6. Danny, 1st Earl of the OzarksDecember 24, 2009 4:45 am

    It does seem that Mr. Brown and his cabinet are being accorded some special treatment here. But it caught my eye that such a committee might reasonably expect the PM and his ministers to testify at all. What a really refreshing idea from an American perspective.

    Committees of inquiry here in the US are usually convened by one or the other houses of Congress, and face the constitutional separation of powers between the Executive and Legislative branchs. Inquiries about Iraq, treatment of detainees, the memos leading up to the 9/11 attack, etc., were met with stone cold silence from the Bush White House. And the Obama White House has not been much more forthcoming about Bush era matters. Presidents do not gladly cede any trace of their autonomy to Congress, regardless of party.

    How refereshing to think that a Head of Government might actually have to answer openly to the people and the people's representatives. (Of course, even the idea of PMQ's seems strange and wonderful to an American.)

  7. Subrosa: Always has.... and I suppose it always will. I suppose it's good to have friends who will shortly be able to offer one a seat on the red leather benches, complete with income for life for doing, as we know from recent examples, abolutely nothing at all.

  8. Well, I guess Danny, that we do have that. There tends however to be a deference in the questioning of the de facto President on the rare occasions when these things happen.

    The real head of state would never be subjected to anything like that.

    And that great governmental tradition of hiding behind the "defence of the realm" stuff is always good when they don't want to answer a difficult question.