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Blair: Chilcot Inquiry questions ‘for another day’

File photo of Tony Blair and George W Bush in 2006. Picture: PA

File photo of Tony Blair and George W Bush in 2006. Picture: PA

TONY Blair has ducked calls for him to sanction the release of his exchanges with George Bush in the run-up to the Iraq war.

The tight-lipped former prime minister said questions about the Chilcot Inquiry were “for another day” as he was grilled by reporters after a speech on Europe.

Campaigners have criticised as a whitewash the decision to limit publication to “quotes or gists” and the mother of one soldier killed in the conflict said she was “sickened”.

Mr Blair’s Tory predecessor in Number 10, Sir John Major, is among those urging him to allow a fuller disclosure to address suspicions.

Years of negotiations over the publication of the “vital” material, which includes 25 notes from Mr Blair to the then US president and more than 130 records of conversations between them, is understood to have been behind long delays in publication of the report into the invasion.

Sir John said at the weekend that withholding the details would “leave suspicions unresolved and those suspicions will fester and maybe worsen” and would be “very embarrassing for Tony Blair” as the premier who introduced the Freedom of Information Act.

He said there were “strict rules” preventing the current Government from getting involved and insisted it was down to Labour or Mr Blair to approach the Cabinet Office, which handled the negotiations, to give the go-ahead for the papers to be released.

Rose Gentle, whose 19-year-old son Gordon was killed in Iraq in June 2004, said she was “sickened” by the decision to publish only selected sections and believed Mr Blair would “walk away from it with a smile on his face”.

Asked by reporters about the issue, Mr Blair said: “In respect of Chilcot, I’ll leave that for another day.”

 

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