Tony Blair's appearance at the Iraq inquiry today is one of the most eagerly-awaited political events of the early, possibly one of the most eagerly-awaited events of the last 10 years. But exactly what sort of event is it going to be? A war crimes trial? Sir John Chilcot has made it clear that no one is on trial at the Iraq inquiry and there is no evidence, from the questions they've been asking, to suggest that Chilcot and his team believe that Blair did anything corrupt.
Blair will get asked about claims that he exaggerated the intelligence case, but the inquiry panel — unlike Blair's critics — seem to take the view that exaggerating isn't the same as lying. A truth and reconciliation commission hearing? Blair has given countless speeches and interviews about Iraq over the last seven years and there is no evidence to
Blair i brak med chirac that he has been harbouring some extraordinary secret relating to what happened that he is suddenly going to share with the world today.
A contemporary history seminar? We will get that, but Blair must know that the public expects much more than a dusty account of who said what when. The Iraq war is now hugely unpopular it has tainted Blair's legacy. Today he will have to defend it. So what will we get? I'm not really sure. It should be an extraordinary day.
I thought I was in early, but Blair got to the QE2 centre at 7. There are "scores" of protesters outside the conference centre, but they are outnumbered by police. Here's what the Press Association is saying. There was a stand-off between police and leaders of the Stop the War Coalition, who accused the Metropolitan Police of breaking agreements on where Blair i brak med chirac would be allowed to stand.
The demonstrators were prevented from gathering on a grassed area outside the main entrance to the QEII Centre.
Police had erected two lines of barriers overnight, forcing them to stand on the pavement opposite Westminster Abbey. Many of the demonstrators wore T-shirts bearing the slogan "Jail Tony". If you haven't already, do read Patrick Wintour's
Blair i brak med chirac of what Blair is likely to say today. It's all good stuff, but I particularly liked his explanation of why the secret letters Blair wrote to George Bush won't be published.
Patrick quotes an ally of Blair's who said:. I do not believe any of them show he is saying he will commit British troops unconditionally. He is supportive, but Bush is quite a simple man who won't read beyond the first paragraph if you don't say you are with him. I don't think they can be published.
They go the heart of the UK-US relations.
They are full of scurrilous remarks about other people, including [Jacques] Chirac. It is taken as fact that the Iraq war is now viewed by most members of the public as a mistake, but it's hard to find good polling evidence that backs this up. The most recent poll I'm aware of that asked about Iraq was one conducted by YouGov earlier this "Blair i brak med chirac." Annoying, YouGov did not ask a simple question about whether the war was right or wrong.
The YouGov website has also got a chart showing how the public response to the "was the war right or wrong" question changed from from Blair is now being criticised for arriving at the QE2 centre through a side door.
He doesn't have the decency or honesty to face up to the public, military families, and Iraqis who will be here today in huge numbers to show their opposition to the war. He does not have the integrity to come and face the people. Sliding in by a back door entrance is typical of his lies, deceit and evasion. Denis MacShane, the former minister, has just been on News 24 defending Blair.
He deserves a mention because he has written the best of the pro-Blair Iraq articles to appear in the national press over the last week or so. Admittedly, he has not had much competition, but if you want to read the Blair case, MacShane's article in the Independent is worth a read. Here's a flavour of it. Which of the many senior politicians caught in the long-running debate over the Iraq conflict said that Saddam Hussein "most has chemical and biological weapons and is working towards a nuclear capacity" and that the now famous dossier "contains confirmation of information that we either knew or most certainly should have been willing to assume?
The point is made not to mock Ming Campbell, whose views changed as events unfolded, but as a reminder that the Chilcot Inquiry is taking an increasingly surreal turn as it discusses not the history of what happened but the contemporary passions of protagonists nearly a decade later.
Several papers have published their version of the "10 questions Blair must answer" piece. Our contribution to the genre is here. He has produced 63 questions for Blair to Blair i brak med chirac. I do like the fact that he settled on You can be confident that he Blair i brak med chirac just made some up to reach a nice round number.
News 24 are saying there are about protesters outside the QE2 centre now. In the interests of competition and pluralism, here are some links to the other live blogs or Twitter feeds covering the hearing. The FT's Westminster Blog. The Times' live blog.
Channel 4's Iraq Inquiry blogger on Twitter. The Daily Telegraph's live blog. Iraq Inquiry Digest's live blog. Politics Home live blog. Sky News Glen Oglaza's Twitter feed.
Sir John Chilcot starts by reminding members of the public in the room that they have to behave properly. The lunch break will last for an hour and a half, not an hour as is usual, to allow time for Blair i brak med chirac of the public to take their seats for the afternoon session, Chilcot says.
He says today's hearing is "much anticipated". He will set out what today's hearing will and will not cover. The relatives of those killed in Iraq want to know why Britain went to war.
The inquiry will ask those questions, and identify lessons to be learnt. But there will be further hearings later in the year. If necessary, the inquiry iwll speak to Blair again.
Chilcot says the hearings will concentrate on how the Iraq policy developed, how it was presented to the British people and the later diplomacy. Blair i brak med chirac hearing will then move on to the planning for the aftermath, what happened after the war, the deterioriating situation and Blair i brak med chirac sectarian violence. Chilcot says people have written to the inquiry wanted to know why Britain went to war.
Sir Roderic Lyne gets to ask the first question. He wants to asks about the origins of Blair's Iraq's policy. Containment had "prevented Saddam Hussein from threatening his neighbours or developing nuclear weapons". But there were concerns about the policy. Lyne is being very long-winded today. Lord Goldsmith complained about him asking a question with 18 sentences in it. This one seems almost longer! There was an attempt to put in place smart sanctions.
The first military action Blair had taken was against Saddam in I would fairly describe our policy up to September 11 as doing our best The crucial thing after September 11 was that the calculus of risk changed. Their impact is regularly I am saying Saddam must comply with the UN resolutions and force is an option.
But it was in the context of trying to get a better sanctions regime. After Septermber 11, our view, the American view [of the risk posed by Saddam] changed dramatically. He says IRA terrorism was directed towards a political purpose. That completely changed our assessment of where the risk lay.
Lyne says Saddam was not linked to al-Qaida. Had the threat from Iraq increased? Blair says he agrees with the assessement given Jack Straw. The perception of risk changed, he says. Blair says he has looked at this carefully. There were "billions of dollars that were being illicitly used by Iraq". But he was not using it to buy food and medicine for his people. And he had been successful in blaming the West.
Blair says he wants to mention a document. It is the March Cabinet Office options paper. Lyne says it is in the public domain. It's on the internet. But he is not certain if if has been declassified yet "by the government elected under your leadership".
Blair says containment through sanctions "had basically been eroding". The premiership of Tony Blair began on 2 May
Blair i brak med chirac ended upon his resignation on 27 . for the war, often clashing with French President Jacques Chirac, who became the face of international opposition.
and giving their heart electric shocks is not something you just do in the routine run of medical practice. ". Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair addresses the media after attending the European People's Party (EPP) Group Bureau meeting in.
(Jacques Chirac, broadcast on TF1 and France 2, 10 March ) which had hitherto been perceived as essential if Tony Blair was to take Britain to war. Tarik Aziz visited Paris, ostensibly for 'medical' reasons, as early as October. . assistance, and a French parliamentary delegation) to break the air embargo.
He was Leader of the Opposition from to Blair remains the last British Labour Party leader to have won a general election. He was elected Labour Party leader in July , following the sudden death of his predecessor, John Smith.
Under Blair's leadership, the party used the phrase " New Labour ", to distance it from previous Labour policies and the traditional conception of socialism.
Blair declared support for a new conception that he referred to as "social-ism", involving politics that recognised individuals as socially interdependent, and advocated social justice, cohesion, the equal worth of each citizen, and equal opportunity, also referred to as the Third Way.
In May , the Labour Party won a landslide general election victory, the largest in its history. Blair, at 43 years of age, became the youngest Prime Minister since En singeltjejs bekannelser v 49
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Tony Blair at Iraq...
That completely changed our assessment of where the risk lay.. Blair says taking the decision was a "huge responsibility". Lady Prashar asks about regime change. Nick Robinson on the World at One says that Blair seemed to display "sheer terror" at the start of the hearing.
That was not a private commitment. Proposed laws to cope with the threat of terrorism proved extremely controversial; an amendment to require that glorifying terrorism be deliberate to be an offence was rejected in the House of Commons by just three votes a result initially announced as a one-vote margin, due to a miscount.
Premiership of Tony Blair
Cameron rescues a principle from the shambles of Iraq. Tony Blair met by protesters. What Tony Blair told Chilcot the first time. Jack Straw gave Tony Blair 'way out' of invading Iraq. Tony Blair's 'one-sided' correspondence with George W Bush. Sir John Chilcot 'disappointed' over talks disclosure ban. Iraq invites Hans Blix, UN chief weapons inspector, to Baghdad as a possible step towards resumption of arms inspections. Britain publishes dossier outlining the threat posed by Iraq. Dr Blix leads weapons inspectors back to Baghdad to relaunch search for weapons of mass destruction, backed by the UN resolution.
The weapons inspectors start inspections, visiting two sites, and thank the Iraqis for their co-operation but do not comment on findings. Iraq hands over a 12,page weapons declaration as required by resolution The document is meant to be a current and complete account of all its chemical, biological, nuclear and missile programmes.
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Why am I so jealous of everyone?Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair addresses the media after attending the European People's Party (EPP) Group Bureau meeting in. Here is a timeline of events charting Tony Blair's involvement in the build-up to the Iraq war, key events in Talks in Vienna between the UN and Iraq break down without agreement French President Jacques Chirac says his country would vote against any resolution that . When media meets medicine..
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