Iraq war inquiry likely once Blair leaves No 10, says deputy favourite

Last updated at 10:01 18 May 2007

A full inquiry into the Iraq war could be launched by Gordon Brown when he becomes prime minister.

Deputy Labour leadership candidate Alan Johnson reportedly told supporters that an Iraq inquiry,

which has been resisted by the current leadership, was likely once Tony Blair stood down.

The decision would be seen as drawing a line under the mistakes behind the invasion, and its


"Alan thinks there probably will be an inquiry," said one of his allies. "He thinks there is a mood out there for one, whatever you think about

the rights and the wrongs of having an inquiry. He didn’t say it would come to any definite conclusion but he thinks there will be an inquiry. We need to draw a line under Iraq."

Mr Brown has so far refused to rule out holding an inquiry, which Defence Secretary Des Browne had previously promised MPs would happen "when the time is right". The prospect of an Iraq inquiry is now certain to become a key issue in

the deputy leadership campaign, with the six candidates lining up to have their say.

However, the other five candidates — all ministers who voted for the war — could face accusations of using an inquiry to distance themselves from their original decision.

Jon Cruddas is the only candidate so far to have called for an inquiry into what went wrong — and to have admitted he made a mistake in voting for the invasion.

The Tories have repeatedly called for the decisions behind the conflict to be publicly examined. An attempt to force the Government to hold an inquiry in the House of Commons

failed last year.

Downing Street said there had been four inquiries related to the Iraq war already and declined calls for a commitment to hold another once British troops have left the country.

However, with Mr Brown anxious to restore trust in politicians, the PM elect will be under pressure to hold an inquest into the wider foreign policy failures of the war.

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