LONDON — Former Prime Minister Tony Blair will be publicly questioned about the Iraq war during Britain's long-awaited inquiry into mistakes made before and during the conflict, the inquiry chairman said today.
Chairman John Chilcott said Blair and other senior politicians will be questioned early next year on their role and decisions over the war.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced in June that he would hold an inquiry into the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. He initially had said the hearings would be private but changed his stance after bereaved families and antiwar campaigners said a private inquiry would command little confidence.
Chilcott, a former civil servant, said the first round of hearings will start Nov. 24 and last until February 2010. He said that senior officials and military officers would give evidence first and that politicians, including Blair, would be questioned starting in January. The full list of witnesses called to give evidence will be announced later this month.
The Iraq war was deeply unpopular in Britain, prompting some of the country's largest ever protest marches — including a rally that drew an estimated 2 million demonstrators to central London.