Brown to face Iraq inquiry before general election   2010-01-22 21:20:11 FeedbackPrintRSS

LONDON, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will give evidence to the Iraq inquiry before the general election, Britain's Sky News reported on Friday.

Brown wrote to inquiry panel chairman John Chilcot this morning, offering to appear as a witness next month or in March, noting that "I will be happy to agree a date which is to the convenience of the inquiry."

The committee earlier said it would not call the prime minister before the poll because it believed that only after the general election could the ministers give their evidence fully without the hearings being used as a platform for political advantage.

But there has been mounting political pressure for Brown to appear at the hearing. William Hague, the opposition foreign affairs spokesman, said the inquiry and the British public needed to hear the full facts from everyone involved.

The Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg said: "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."

Among a number of senior Labour Party figures to be questioned in public is former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who is to be called to give evidence to the inquiry on Jan. 29.

The public hearing opened on Nov. 24, 2009 with the chairman of the inquiry commission promising a "fair and frank" investigation, which will cover the entire eight-year period from the build-up to the war to the withdrawal of British troops.

The inquiry won't apportion blame or establish criminal or civil liability -- only offer reprimands and recommendations in the hope mistakes won't be repeated in the future.

Chilcot said some witnesses might be asked to appear again for more detailed sessions, but not until after the general election, which must be held in June at the latest. The report will not be published until at least the end of 2010.

Editor: Deng Shasha
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