Rebels defeated in Iraqi probe vote

The Government's majority slumped to 98 as it suffered a fresh backbench rebellion over Iraq.

A Liberal Democrat-led bid for an independent inquiry into No 10's handling of intelligence in the run-up to war was defeated by 301 votes to 203.

The Government's amendment stating that the intelligence and security committee was the "appropriate body" to carry out an investigation was carried without a vote.

Tories backed the Liberal Democrat call for an independent inquiry along with 11 Labour backbenchers.

The vote came at the end of a stormy day dominated by claims that the intelligence case had been "beefed up" to back the Government's case for war.

At question time, the Prime Minister resisted demands for an independent inquiry but promised full cooperation with the intelligence and security committee investigation.

Mr Blair came under strong pressure from Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith to mount an independent judicial inquiry to clear up the allegations.

Seizing on this, and claims by Commons Leader John Reid that "rogue elements" in the security services were behind the allegations, Mr Duncan Smith said: "The whole credibility of the Government rests on clearing up these charges."

Mr Blair promised to produce all the necessary evidence to the intelligence and security committee, so it could come to a "considered judgment," and announced the committee's report would be published.

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