Brown to face Iraq inquiry soon thanks to Clegg pressure

by Stephen Tall on January 22, 2010

It’s nine days since Nick Clegg challenged Gordon Brown to volunteer to appear before Sir John Chilcot’s inquiry into the Iraq war this side of the general election “before people decide how to vote on his record in government?” And now it seems that Nick’s pressure has paid off – the BBC reports:

Gordon Brown will give evidence to the Iraq Inquiry before the general election, the BBC understands.

Mr Brown, who has said he is “happy” to face the inquiry whenever called, had been under pressure to do so before the election, which must be held by June.

The inquiry’s chairman is expected to confirm later that the PM will be asked to appear but will not set a date. However, the BBC understands he will appear in late February or early March.

You can re-live the exchange between Nick and Mr Brown, either on video courtesy the BBC or via the Hansard transcript, here on LDV.

Nick has welcomed the Prime Minister’s decision to face the Chilcot Inquiry:

It is well known that the Prime Minister was a key figure in Britain’s decision to invade Iraq. It is only right that Gordon Brown should explain his role in this disastrous foreign policy failure before asking the British people for their vote.”

This is an excellent result for Nick. Good in its own right: the Prime Minister should be asked about his role in the invasion of Iraq. And good for Nick’s growing stature as leader: once again, as over the Gurkhas and Michael Martin, it is Nick who is making the running, and punching above his weight at Prime Minister’s Questions.

This in stark contrast to David Cameron, whose string of lacklustre Commons’ performances are beginning to be noticed even by his friends at The Spectator. Here’s how the magazine’s Coffee House blog compared the performances of Nick and the Tory leader at this week’s PMQs:

The LibDem leader took a pop at Labour with a very smart weapon. He wondered why the government hadn’t acted to stop RBS lending tax-payers’ money to Kraft which is about to sack Cadburys staff. That’s three bogymen in one. … [Labour/Tory MPs] hate him because they can see he’s capable, plucky and politically shrewd. The house has strange ways of honouring talent. …

Cameron risks turning into the Rafa Benitez of Westminster. He’s living on a reputation which is rapidly fading from memory.