Thursday, January 21, 2010

***BREAKING*** Brown to Face Chilcot

News just coming in that Gordon is going to face the Chilcot inquiry into Iraq soon.

Sky are saying:

After increasing pressure from political opponents, Mr Brown wrote to Sir John earlier this week to make it clear he would be "happy" to attend at any time.

"I am clear that it is a matter for you how you conduct the Inquiry and that it is, and must remain, entirely independent of Government," the Prime Minister wrote.

"In undertaking this you have rightly chosen the order you wish to receive evidence.

"For my part, I want to make it absolutely clear I am prepared to give evidence whenever you see fit. I remain happy to take your advice on this matter."
They and the BBC now both believe that the Prime Minister is now going to be called before the enquiry in a matter of weeks rather than later in the year as originally scheduled.

There is also some spectulation as to what part this PMQ from last Wednesday had in the resulting early call of Brown to face the questions.

13 Jan 2010 : Column 682

Mr. Nick Clegg (Sheffield, Hallam) (LD):Given everything that has come to light in the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war, will the Prime Minister now do the decent thing and volunteer to give evidence to the inquiry before people decide how to vote on his record in government?

The Prime Minister: The Chilcot inquiry has drawn up a list of those people that it wishes to interview and has invited the people on the dates that it has done. I will follow the recommendations of the Chilcot committee. I have nothing to hide on this matter and I am happy to give evidence. Equally, at this time, I thought that the debate in the House was that the Chilcot inquiry should decide when people were heard.

Mr. Clegg: The point is that this is not just a question for Sir John Chilcot; it is a question for the Prime Minister's own conscience. When the decisions were taken to launch this illegal war, he was not only in the room-he was the one who signed the cheques. He should insist on going to the inquiry now. People are entitled to know before they decide how to vote at the general election what his role was in this Government's most disastrous decision. What has he got to hide?

13 Jan 2010 : Column 683

The Prime Minister: Nothing, and the right hon. Gentleman was the one who wanted Chilcot to make the decisions about whom he called. He cannot on one day say that Chilcot should decide and then say that he or someone else should decide what happens.

On the Iraq war, we have given every single document to the Iraq inquiry. We have given it the opportunity to look at every document and to ask for which documents it wants to be declassified. The only documents that will be withheld from publication are those that directly affect national security and international relations. This is a full inquiry being run by Sir John Chilcot. People are being interviewed, rightly so, and asked for their evidence, but it is for the Chilcot committee to decide how it proceeds-that is what the right hon. Gentleman proposed.

If it does it shows how much more on the pulse Clegg is than Cameron as even the Spectator's Coffee House blog had earlier given Clegg another hit to Cameron's miss this week.

More to follow.

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