Friday, February 23, 2007

Pressure Mounts on Blair for Inquiry into Mistakes in Iraq

The Independent
Andrew Grice - Political Editor

The Government is under mounting pressure to hold an early inquiry into the mistakes made in Iraq as Tony Blair refused to apologise for the chaos engulfing the country.

Heavyweight demands for a wide-ranging investigation came in a five-hour debate in the House of Lords led by the former foreign secretary Lord Hurd of Westwell, who won the backing of several other former cabinet ministers.

Allies of Gordon Brown admit there will be growing pressure on him to announce an immediate inquiry if, as expected, he succeeds Tony Blair as Prime Minister this summer. He faces an agonising dilemma over whether to call one. On the one hand, the move might help him to draw a line under an affair in which Mr Blair was undoubtedly the leading player. On the other, Mr Brown, whatever his private reservations, backed Mr Blair and said during the 2005 general election he would not have acted differently. An inquiry would also keep Iraq in the spotlight, and risk overshadowing Mr Brown's attempt to unveil a fresh domestic agenda.

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