by Stephen Tall on December 24, 2009
Hopes have never been high that Sir John Chilcott’s inquiry into the Iraq war would provide a real sense of closure: it’s come too late, and opinions are fixed. Opponents of Tony Blair’s decision will forever believe that he knowingly mislead Parliament into voting for a war he believed was essential; those who defend his actions will forever believe it was right to topple Saddam Hussein with or without the UN’s sanction.
But those initial hopes for Sir John’s inquiry are receding still further thanks to his decision to excuse Gordon Brown, David Miliband and Douglas Alexander from appearing before the inquiry until after the general election. As the Lib Dems’ shadow foreign secretary Ed Davey comments:
Giving special treatment to Labour ministers not only undermines the perception of independence of the inquiry but will damage the public’s trust in politics further still. This looks like a deal cooked up in Whitehall corridors to save Gordon Brown and his ministers from facing the music.
“Gordon Brown signed the cheques for the Iraq war, and he should explain that decision before polling day. British soldiers will not be impressed by a Prime Minister unwilling to step into the firing line.”
And nor will British voters.